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When The Enemy Frustrates Our Purpose: Ezra 4
Zerubbabel took a stand and would not allow the Jew's adversaries a place in the building of the temple. So, what was their response? They made life miserable:
"Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose..." (Ezra 4:4)
Their frustrating the purposes of Israel went so far that they eventually wrote a letter to Artexerxes accusing the Jews of building the city up so that the would be able to cease paying their tolls and taxes and would, therefore, damage the revenue of the kings. The letter, which is given in full in Ezra 4:11-16, is dripping with flattery and sugary, if not somewhat overstated, allegiance to the king. They encouraged him to look in the records and find that Jerusalem is a rebellious city, one that should not be trusted.
Their ploy worked. Artaxerxes wrote back and called the building to a halt. In verse twenty-four we find the sad statement, "Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem."
"Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy." Hosea 14:3
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