When the exiles returned to Jerusalem after seventy years in exile, they rebuilt the temple the Babylonians had destroyed. During the rebuilding process, those in opposition approached them and offered their help, posing as God-worshippers themselves. However, the leaders recognized their scheme and would not allow it. Their enemies then showed their true colors and responded by turning up the heat.
Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans… Ezra 4:4-5
When you and I set out to do what the Lord has called us to do, we can be sure that the enemy will do his best to discourage us, make us afraid, work against us, and frustrate us at every turn. If we keep this in mind, we won’t be surprised when we see the enemy’s fiery arrows start flying. If we keep this in mind, we will armor up before we step one foot in the direction of obedience. If we keep this in mind, we will be prepared. And if we keep this in mind, we will be faithful to complete what the Lord has entrusted and called us to do.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12