by Sep 20, 2023

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.

When you surrender to the will of God, you must be prepared to face opposition.

Almost immediately after his appearance in the gospels, Jesus’ mission was met with resistance. The demons attempted to reveal his true identity ahead of time (Mark 1:34), and the devil tempted him (Luke 4:1-13). Even his contemporaries sought his destruction (John 11:53). The reason? Because the dark forces of this world always try to overcome the light (John 1:5). When you dedicate yourself to the work of God, opposition is a reality, as Satan lurks, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). This pattern is repeated in the accounts of Ezra and Nehemiah, when God’s people embarked on rebuilding the temple and walls of Jerusalem and encountered obstacles.

Satan’s attacks are usually subtle, not frontal. Identifying and resisting them is key. In Ezra 4, the opponents are initially introduced as “co-workers” (Ezra 4:2). They seem willing to help in the reconstruction of the temple and argue that they worship the same God and have made sacrifices to him for a long time. Often, however, opposition does not manifest itself directly as a frontal attack, but as a subtle compromise.

After the exile, non-Jews (Samaritans) settled in the region, developing a religion that seemed Jewish but was not. When Zerubbabel and the Jewish leaders rejected his offer, the Samaritans discouraged the Israelites and made them afraid to continue the work (Ezra 4:4). As the story progresses, they appeal to King Artaxerxes and accuse the Jews of rebellion (Ezra 4:7, 12).

When faced with opposition, do not stop at the will of God. Nehemiah, in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, also encountered resistance (Nehemiah 4), but he did not surrender. In Nehemiah 6, his opponents returned and discovered that he had completed the work. They accused him of betrayal (Nehemiah 6:6), and Nehemiah responded, but he also sought strength in prayer: “But now, O God, strengthen my hands” (Nehemiah 6:9). In the face of opposition, Nehemiah stood firm and found his strength in the Lord.

He remembers that suffering due to opposition is temporary, while the glory to come is eternal. As Jesus warned us, in this world we will face tribulations, but we can find peace in Him, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Opposition does not take God by surprise, and even though we face temporary suffering, eternal glory awaits us. In the midst of challenges, we can follow Nehemiah’s example, seeking strength in prayer.

Sincerely, Guillermo Ayala.


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