Bible Commentaries
Ezra 4

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-24

  1. Intro:
    1. In a chess game you can many times be placed in Check but still come out ahead & even win the game.
      1. Here we’ll see the enemy place them in check a couple times…but let’s see how the game ends up.
    2. Chapter 4 is a little hard to follow because it doesn’t flow exactly chronologically.
      1. 4:1-5 & 4:24-6:22 flow as one unit, describing the building of the temple from its beginning with king Cyrus to its completion under king Darius.
      2. So basically 4:6-23 is inserted to describe future hostility against the returnees, who tried to rebuild the walls under king Xerses & Artaxerxes.
        1. I think Ezra wanted us to know that the hostility continued afterwards.
    1. When God starts to bless; Satan starts to battle.
      1. Although another way to keep your enemy off your back is to not do anything for the Lord; Live an unaggressive & lazy life…and guaranteed, the enemy will leave you alone.
      2. Every work of the Lord draws the attention of the enemy.
    2. Satan has the same tool belt he’s been using for ages. Let’s look at a few of these ol’ tools.
      1. Let’s look at the 1st tool out of Satan’s tool belt
    3. [1] The Tool of Infiltration (1-3) Let us build with you
      1. This sounds innocent enough, but this was a golden cup of poison. What’s the problem?
        1. 2 Kings 17:24 Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, & from Sepharvaim, & placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria & dwelt in its cities.
          1. These are Jews that had intermarried with w/the Assyrians, making the 1/2 breed Samaritans of the NT.
          2. This is the story of the Bad Samaritans!
      2. Are there any partnerships you’re involved with that you should reevaluate?
      3. Not all volunteers have the right motive, they may be working for the enemy.
      4. What weapon do we have to fight against Infiltration?
        1. Not being unequally yoked. Being careful of partnerships with the world.
    4. 6b [2] The Tool of Discouragement (4a) …tried to discourage the people of Judah.
      1. Often Discouragement is brought about by different fears.
        1. Is.12:2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.
      2. When we yield to discouragement, it is usually because we give too much thought to the past or to the future.
        1. Thomas Edison said of discouragement, When down in the mouth remember Jonah - he came out all right.
        2. Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.
      3. What weapon do we have to fight against Discouragement?
        1. Knowing what GOD has called us to. Not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow, focusing on today.
    5. 6c [3] The Tool of Trouble (4b) They troubled them in building.
      1. This can still happen in our building projects, & life situations today...The questions we need to ask ourselves are:
        1. Is this a timing issue? Is God doing something else behind the scene we can’t see yet?
      2. What weapon do we have to fight against Trouble?
        1. The reminder that God is bigger than any troublemaker, any Goliath's, in our lives.
    6. 6d [4] The Tool of Frustration (5a) …hired counselors…to frustrate their purpose.
      1. Play the role of the Oyster that makes something beautiful out of its irritations.
      2. What weapon do we have to fight against Frustration?
        1. Pray, not anxiety or worry.
    7. 6e [5] The Tool of Fatigue (5b) …all the days of Cyrus.
      1. Some times it just doesn’t let up
      2. Like the tactic that is used to flush someone out of their house, or using interrogation methods w/continuous music or sounds.
        1. ​​​​​​​Though not Politically Correct, what my older brother Mark used to do was a game he referred to as Chinese water he’d pin me down w/his knees on my shoulders, then tap w/his finger on my chest. Drip, drip, drip (saying, Chinese water torture).
        2. The tool of fatigue. I’ve seen many Christians fall to this weapon, of being so physically tired that it subsequently wears on them emotionally & spiritually.
      3. What weapon do we have to fight against Fatigue?
        1. Continual physical, emotional, & spiritual refreshment.
    8. 6f [6] The Tool of Accusation (6) they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah & Jerusalem
      1. This tool worked…The construction had to stop. 4:24
        1. We do not live in a fairy book world where everyone lives Happily ever after.
        2. The enemy won this battle…but didn’t win the war. (& that’s key)
      2. Satan has a wonderful arsenal of accusations for us; & a whole army to carry out his bidding. And unfortunately...many Christians lining up to be used also.
      3. What weapon do we have to fight against accusations that come our way?
        1. Expect it & Evaluate it.
    9. Does Satan use these same tools today?
      1. He only has 3 channels at his disposal to tempt us: Himself, world system, our flesh
      2. He only has 3 tactics to tempt us: the lust of our eyes, lust of our flesh, pride of life.
      3. What can we do to counter his attacks?
        1. Submit to God, resist the devil & he will flee from you. James 4:7
        2. Every work of the Lord draws the attention of the enemy.
        3. He may win a few battles but never the war.
    10. Vs.4:6-16 - The accusatory letter written to Ahasueras/Xerxes. I’ll read vs.12-16
      1. The deception? It’s for the kings sake. We have you in mind dear King.
    11. Vs.4:17-22 - The kings answer. You’re right (19). Make them stop (21). They stopped em (23,24)
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Ezra 4". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.