Ezra 4:1-2 – Now when the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people of the exile were building a temple to the LORD God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers’ {households,} and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we, like you, seek your God; (NAS)

This is a familiar story, as we saw in Nehemiah’s building project, as soon as you start building then comes the enemy. Here we see a different strategy of the enemy: the enemy actually desires to labor WITH US. Why would the enemy want to build with us? To sow discord internally! The enemy knows that a little leaven will spoil the whole lump of dough. Therefore, God will now have to purge out the leaven. We have allowed those who said they sought God, to build with us. God must purge them out of our fellowships, and God will have to purge out the heresy they taught. I have seen it myself where those that have posed as believers had entered into our love feasts (as Jude calls it).

Jude 1:12 – These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; (NAS)

I have seen among spirit-filled, full gospel churches – those who were child molesters, habitual homosexuals, and pornographers. These are ones with UNCLEAN spirits that are there for one purpose – to defile the bride. They are hidden reefs; they are there to cause us to run aground.

[rewrite note: there are some with these sins that are not here to be hidden reefs. They are in our churches to get help. Rewrite to make clear]

I counseled one pastor who deceived himself into thinking that a homosexual in his church was a “bruised reed” instead of a “hidden reef.” The pastor felt as if his attitude was compassionate and he found scripture that would agree with him (Matt 12:20 – about Jesus not breaking the bruised reed). Because the pastor never learned to perceive by the Spirit, he subjected his congregation to be led by a praise & worship leader that was unbeknownst to them – a practicing homosexual (that believed that God approved of homosexuality). After I pressed them about Jude 1:12 they removed him, though the people in the congregation were never told. Simply put, hidden reefs will shipwreck our faith. I am not saying that we are not to invite the homosexual to our love feast, but that means they are not hidden and you are trying to get the Gospel of salvation to them. If we do not have discernment in these last days, people in our midst shall be victims as a result. Moreover, do not be deceived in the matter of salvation, one cannot be born-again and be practicing that which is an abomination to God as the Apostle John wrote in his letter 1John. This should have been clearly taught to us.

Ezra 4:3 – But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers’ {households} of Israel said to them, “You have nothing in common with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves will together build to the LORD God of Israel. (NAS)

God’s forerunners, God’s foundation will DISCERN those who have nothing “in common.” Zerubbabel is the governor of this Jerusalem and we see his response is much like Nehemiah’s response – one that reflects God’s way instead of the way of man. We must discern those who have “nothing in common” from those who are “in common” and build together – His House. These ways of God are a great contrast from typical ministry that we frequently observe. There is a missing wisdom in even the best of today’s ministry. Scripture has the answer; scripture has the key ingredient needed that enables us to be successful builders as measured by God’s standard. One ingredient is discernment in those we labor. On one hand, we must be as Paul and Apollos, and on the other hand, we must exclude those who “having nothing in common.” This includes praise and worship laborers, as well as any other kind of building that you are doing.

Ezra 4:4 – Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building, (NAS)

Temporarily we see defeat. In ministering to others there will be temporary setbacks. The enemy will try to discourage and cause fear. And, at times we may see success on the devil’s side instead of on our side. If you see a setback, know that it shall be temporary, God will give us courage out of this discouragement.

To make matters worse for Zerubbabel, a letter was sent to the king containing false accusations; it resulted in the God’s project coming to a complete halt.

Ezra 5:1-2 – When the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them, then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them supporting them. (NAS)

God’s prophets will cause the building project that has stopped, to continue again. Of course the enemy sent accusation, again, to the king to have the work cease, but the response of the king was “”Leave this work on the house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site.” God gives us favor with the kings of the land when what we are building is truly of the Lord. After the work of the temple was finished, we see Ezra coming to the scene; he represents to us what is the result of a completed temple.

John Robert Lucas

Excerpt from Temple Builders: A Higher Wisdom

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