More than 3,000 years ago, King Cyrus of Persia allowed Israeli captives back to their homelands to build a temple for the Lord.

Since no one ever said this task would be easy, Zerubbabel girded Joshua and his team with prayer. His next priority was organizing the workload and hiring skilled tradesmen while waiting for cedar logs to come in from Lebannon. Then he arranged for daily food and drink. If the men questioned Zerubbabel’s priority list, they wouldn’t wait long to find out they were wrong.

Ezra chapter 4 says the enemies of the Lord heard about exiles who had come to build a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel. Think of this group as present-day evildoers churning out anti-God rhetoric at full speed! Their first attempt to slow temple-building came cloaked as something good. “We want to help you,” they said. Who would deny that offer?

Zerubbabel the wise!! Because they were spiritually fortified, Zerubbabel and his companions recognized their enemy (“The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16). Zerubbabel and his men were prayed up. They discerned the voice behind the offer. Ah, but true to form, these evildoers didn’t throw up their hands and walk away.

Plan B was initiated. This next volley came as a two-parter: discouraging zings first. Maybe these messengers whispered that the task was too great; not enough laborers; too many cedar logs clogging the port; no, not flatbread for lunch again!

When the temple builders didn’t buckle under discouragement, the enemy rolled out part 2: a social media blitz centered around … fear. What if the structure isn’t sound-it’ll crash down on you. Sunburn hurts. You can’t keep up this kind of physical exertion in these temperatures. There are ravenous animals, spiders and snakes, sickness, not enough water/food, inadequate housing, material shortages, significant price hikes…

None of these tactics worked, so the enemies of the Lord dug deeper. Since offers to help, plots to discourage, and a firestorm of fear hadn’t worked, they no longer disguised their evil efforts. But Zerubbabel and his men prayed and continued their work, letting God fight their battles.

Recognize the same ol’ arrows at work in our world today?

The enemy has aimed these unimaginative devices at believers for thousands of years. They won’t work if we’re prayed up and moving forward in Jesus’ Spirit, strength, and power. In fact, Jesus said the believer … “will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

Like Zerubbabel and his men, we too are temple (kingdom) builders! When we stand tall on our knees (pray) and keep our eyes on Jesus, He will deal with the evildoers of this present age and we, too, will accomplish the tasks He equips us to do.

By author eMarie

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20 Replies to “EVILDOERS”

  1. I love how these Old Testament stories remind us that after all these years, human nature has not changed, our Enemy has not changed, and (most importantly), God has not changed. He has a plan for our lives, work for us to do, and His Presence to guide and strengthen us.

    I love this blog post!

  2. Thank you for this amazing devotional that teaches us about a story in the Bible that many of us have not read before. The Lord guided your words to make the story truly relevant in our world today!!!

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