Today’s Reading: Ezra 4:24-6:22 (additional reading Psalm 29:1-11 and Proverbs 20:26-27)
Today’s reading teaches us many things about our walk as Christians and in our work as a church…
1. We must stand against the persistence of our opposition (4:4-7)
2. We must stand against the pervasiveness of our opposition (4:8-10)
3. We must stand against the persuasiveness of our opposition (4:11-16)
4. We must stand against the impediments of our opposition (4:17-24)
One of the most dramatic pictures of opposition in nature is the life cycle of Pacific Salmon. The eggs of Pacific Salmon hatch in very fast moving streams and rivers. Once they hatch, they spend their very early life around the nest. Then as they start to grow, they begin to swim downstream. They head downstream to the fast-moving rivers and then head down-river all the way until they eventually get to the Ocean.
Then when they’re adults, guess what they do? They turn around and come back. By this time, they’re up to 1,000 miles away from where they started. And now it’s time to head back. But this time, it’s all upstream. Things aren’t too bad in the Ocean. They just have to deal with some outgoing tides and currents. But then they get to the river. It’s a lot harder to swim upstream in the river than it was to go against the tide in the ocean. And the closer and closer they get to their stream, the harder it gets. Tons and tons of water are opposed to them. Everything else is heading the other direction. And here they are, still swimming upstream. Then they finally get to their stream. Now that they’re closer to home, things are going to get easier, right? Wrong. Now they’re almost impossible. Because the streams are smaller, the water moves a whole lot faster. And now there are rocks and logs and falls to deal with. We’ve all seen pictures of salmon as they jump up raging waterfalls. That happens when they get close to the end of their journey. After they’ve already come hundreds of miles. All of them upstream. Everything is against them. Everything is opposition. And the farther they go, the harder it seems to get. Have you ever felt like that’s the way your life is? Do you ever feel like that’s what your Christian walk has become? All uphill. Full of opposition?
That is exactly what the remnant here in Ezra was feeling. The first time opposition came, they almost responded the right way. They responded with discernment. They recognized the opposition for what it was. They responded with determination. They proposed to stand in the face of the opposition and get the job done anyway. But this time was harder. the remnant is facing a barrage of continual opposition. They’re like that salmon in the home stretch of swimming upstream.
In our Christian walk, we face opposition every day. As we move forward in the work of this church, we will face opposition in accomplishing God’s work. How are we going to face it? How will you face it in your personal walk with Jesus? We need to face it with God the Father as our authority, God the Son as our victory, and God the Spirit as our power.
How do you face living against the flow?
Father, Thank You for empowering us to live for You in a sinful world. Help us to press on in our walk, focusing on the goal and promises we have in Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen