They Say All The Right Things

Ezra 4 opens by telling how the enemies of Judah heard of the rebuilding of the Temple, and asked to “help.” Verse 2 says they requested: “Let us build with you for we, like you, seek your God …”. On the surface, what they said sounded good — but there was something else behind it.

Although they may have said the “right things” about how they wanted to help, their hearts were not with Jeshua & Zerubbabel and the Jews who were seeking to reestablish God’s worship in Jerusalem. But their subsequent actions betrayed their words: verse 4 says “they weakened the hands” of the people of Judah, and frightened them from building, and verse 5 says they hired counselors against them to make false accusations against them to the king. Verse 1 rightly calls them “enemies.”

Duplicitous people are not limited to ancient history, of course. We encounter people just like that today as well. There will always be some people who may (at least initially) say the right things, but who are actually enemies to you, and more importantly, to the gospel and God’s kingdom’s work.

This doesn’t mean we should never trust anyone; God does not want us to become cynical and hardened in our hearts towards people. It does serve as a needed reminder to pray for discernment as we meet and deal with people. Just because someone says “all the right things” does not mean they are not at heart an enemy of God.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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