Adversaries Against You
Father, please help me to understand what my response should be to those who oppose me and work to frustrate or even harm me.
Read Ezra 4:1-5, 24
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him” (Aesop, 620–564 BC).
Do you have adversaries? In Scripture an adversary is someone who opposes you, and may even conspire against you or try to harm you. How should we respond to our adversaries, particularly when they claim to be friends and neighbors, even family members? God’s people had orders from him and from the Persian king to rebuild the Temple and reinstate the calendar of worship. To engage others in Temple reconstruction, particularly those who were plotting against them, would have been disobedient and foolish.
Who were the enemies? The non-Israelite people that the Assyrians settled in Judah seemed to be interested in helping. They even claimed to worship Judah’s God. But when they told the neighbors that they could not rebuild the Temple with them, the enemy’s true colors showed through. They plotted against the Jews by bribing royal officials to send misleading messages to a new and uninformed Persian king. Their message was simple: the Jews are building fortifications and planning to rebel against Persia, declare their independence and refuse to pay taxes. In fact, Judah had earned a reputation of rebelling against their overlords. So there was an element of truth to the accusation. The plot worked. By decree, the Persian king ordered Judah to cease the Temple reconstruction. Immediately, the work on the Temple stopped.
Put yourself in their shoes. Have you ever had someone out to get you? For reasons that you might not know, they determine to be your enemy. They not only dislike you, but they also conspire against you through gossip or some other form of malicious behavior. It may seem like their divisive plan is paying off and they are getting away with it. These are the spirit-killer experiences of life that cause us to want to retaliate, but our response must be different.
Who is mistreating you right now in your life? How are you handling it? How would you like to see your response change?
Heavenly Father, give me insight to understand why some dislike me and grant me grace to be kind in my response.