"Then work on the house of God in Jerusalem ceased ..." (Ezra 4:24a, NASV)
There is always opposition to God's work. On the occasion of our text, the opposition is from outside the kingdom. People of the land went to great extremes to discourage the rebuilding of God's temple. When that failed, they knew how to apply political pressure and thus got the job done. The work stopped.
Today, too, there are outside forces at work socially, morally, and politically to remove God, His work and His people from everyday life. It is good to notice, though, that in the next chapter God's work resumes. God is more powerful than any opposition!
Of equal concern, however, is the opposition of God's work that comes from within the Kingdom of God. When religion becomes only a formal performance instead of a personal relationship with a living savior, ritual, tradition, and apathy take the place of a loving, trusting faith. And the work stops.
The enemy is within the gates;
It is with our own luxury, our own folly,
Our own criminality that we have to contend.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
• Bruce Henderson, Airport Road Church of Christ, Carson City.