The Book of Ezra Chapter 4, Opposition by The Elamites

beemanlee's picture

Most of this Chapter will cover the opposition who see this new threat of power which The Jews seem to have as they work on the restoration of The Temple with Cyrus,Xerxes and Artaxerxes. Work comes to a stop until the Second year of reign of Darius, King of Persia.

Names like Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabbl, Rehum, Shimshai, The Elamites, those whom Osnappaar deported to Sumaria are now causing a slow down in Jerusalem with the restoration of The Temple.

eemig's picture

A Fine Line . . .

Sorry to have jumped into this discussion so late; I'm catching up after a lengthy project kept me away.

One of the things that strikes me in this Chapter is the very fine line that exists between being inclusive and being accommodating to the point of compromising one's principles. When I read the request of the enemies to join in the building of the temple, the first thing I thought of was Jesus' admonition to the apostles in Mark 9:40 - "Anyone who is not against us is for us." What could it hurt, I thought, to have a little help from other people of good will?

But the people of Judah are clearly on a mission from God that will brook no modification or compromise, and when they hold firm to their mission, their enemies show their true faces.

There are times I have yielded to the temptation to compromise my mission for the sake of fellowship or inclusiveness. Every time I have done so, I have quickly realized that where I end up no longer has anything to do with my original mission, and I have to go back to the beginning and start all over again.

As a result of having fallen so often, I spend a lot of time in prayer to discern my true mission, accompanied by the study I need to be able to, as Peter says, "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope." (1 Peter 3:15 NAB). And with a healthy dose of divine grace, I'm able to stand a little more firmly against the distractions that keep me from the mission.

It doesn't mean I can't be civil to those who are trying to divert me from the path I need to be on (to paraphrase comments from President Obama's address to the Notre Dame graduates), but I need to be faithful to what I know to be the truth, just as the people of Judah did in Ezra's time.

Ed Emig

Ed Emig