Expect Opposition

I saw a sign yesterday that said, “We cannot control the wind, but we can trim our sails.” As far as worldly advice goes, that’s not bad. But what if we’re cruising along with the energy and enthusiasm that comes when it seems that the wind is at your back, and the wind seems to die all together? Certainly, we have all experienced those wonderful times that it seems life is all blessing and our opposition bows before us. But those wonderful times are always dissipating. Shouldn’t we as Christians who serve the one true God move from victory to victory? For sure, we long for the day that all the Lord’s enemies will be put under His feet, but we are not yet there.

The remnant of Israel that returns to rebuild the Temple enjoyed the great blessings of God early on, but quickly opposition arose that stopped their progress dead in its tracks. There are a few helpful lessons about how opposition usually works. First, our opposition sees what is happening and tries to enter into it in order to poison it. (4:1-3) When that doesn’t work, they will try to discourage you from continuing. (4:4). Then they will actively oppose you and try to get others to join with them in their opposition. (4:5) This may include gossip, slander, or direct confrontation. Verse 23 of chapter 4 tells us that the Israelites work stopped by the force and power of the Babylonian king who had believed the lies of their opposition.

None of these things should surprise us when they happen. Such is the activity of our enemy when God is working. In fact, we should be uncomfortable when such opposition does not come. If Satan, the enemy of the work of God and the adversary of the people of God, has no cause to oppose us, are we truly engaged in serving the Lord?

Are we defeated when opposition seems to stop our progress? Why does God allow the wind to be taken from our sails? Does He not allow it that His work will go even farther if we are faithful. Take note that in 6:7-12, the decree of the new king, Cyrus (Darius), goes even further than Nebuchadnezzar’s decree. Not only will he continue to provide for the rebuilding of the temple, but now, he will oppose those who oppose the building of the Temple.

This is how our God works against our opposition. He uses our opposition for His glory and our joy. Let us be faithful while we wait and then rejoice when we see Him do it.