Israel faced opposition from the people of the land and even from some of their own people. In this verse the inhabitants in the land write a scathing letter to the King of Persia slandering Ezra and those who were working on the temple. The letter warns the king of the treachery of the Jewish people and how they will never submit to any king and how rebellious they have been throughout history. The letter warns the king that this small settlement of Jews will take over the kingdom and undermine the rule of the King. The King believes their report and sends soldiers and stops the work on the temple.

Whenever one attempts to accomplish God’s mission in life there will be opposition from within and opposition from without. There always seems to be sufficient forces to oppose any effort to advance God’s kingdom on earth. Israel faced it and the church today faces it.  When the church or any individual believer steps out to do God’s will they will face opposition. Sometimes it will even come from the most unlikely places. 

I’m reminded of William Wilberforce’s personal mission to eradicate slavery from the English Empire in the early 1800’s. He battled opposition from every imaginable front. Once in the depths of discouragement and despair, he received a letter from John Wesley. It said, “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might.?”

Ezra did! We should too!

“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.” Jude 20-21 (NLT)