- The first tactic was a subversive attack whereby his enemies tried to compromise his leadership. Their strategy was to convince Ezra they had similar goals. They said, “We seek your God as you do.” (Ezra 4:2) Sometimes attackers appear to be good.
- The second tactic was discouragement. Ezra’s attackers “tried to discourage the people.” (Ezra 4:4). Satan knows one of his greatest tools is discouragement.
- Next, the attackers tried frustration. They “hired counselors against them to frustrate.” (Ezra 4:5) Discouragement and frustration are Siamese running twins. Discouragement slows you down and frustration jumps on your back.
The first series of attacks resulted in inner turmoil. Compromise, discouragement, and frustration cause you to look in the miracle and come to grips with the man in the mirror.
After the initial barrage of attacks Ezra’s enemies became more severe. When simple, subtle attacks will not work the enemy resorts to more severe measures. They turned to accusations (vs. 6), lies (vs. 13) and slander (vs. 16). They went, as the saying goes for the “jugular.” They did not plan to take any prisoners. They wanted to destroy Ezra and his fellow workers.
So, how did Ezra and his coworkers respond? Ezra offers a positive example that any servant of God can follow.
- Ezra sought a word from God. “Haggai and Zechariah…prophesied to the Jews (Ezra 5:1).” God’s word will inspire us to rise above any challenge. Attending conferences, listening to our pastor or teaching tapes, and maintaining a strong devotional life pumps life into God’s people. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4) Jesus was under attack when He spoke those words.
- Ezra sought Godly support. “The prophets of God were with them.” (Ezra 5:2) We should be careful as to not villainize all of God’s people when we are under attack. There are many Godly people who are eager and waiting to support God’s servant who is under attack.
- The most important lesson we learn from Ezra is the lesson of praise. As the Israelite people began their work “they sang responsively, praising, and giving thanks to the Lord.” (Ezra 3:11)
Several years ago Russ Taff wrote a song entitled “Praise the Lord.” Let the words speak for
When you're up against a struggle, that shatters all your dreams
And your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan's manifested schemes
And you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fear
Don't let the faith you're standing in seem to disappear
Praise the Lord, He will work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you, that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him
God intended for us to be people of praise, poise, and power. May we not allow Satan to steal that!