“Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.”
The enemies of God and His people have many and diverse tools designed to hinder the work of the Lord. Satan uses discouragement, criticism, persecution, fear, and apathy against God’s servants, just to name of few of his weapons.
Another method of the enemy, which is sometimes more subtle, is found in our text. The “adversaries of Judah and Benjamin” proposed a partnership with Zerubbabel, suggesting, “Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do.” Zerubbabel and Jeshua recognized the danger of such a confederation and immediately rejected the offer. Joining hands with those who are not of like-mind does not advance the cause of Christ. Instead of making us more effective, ecumenism weakens us.
Spiritual power is not always found in numbers, but it is found in purity. One of the devil’s most effective tools to weaken the testimony of God’s people is the ecumenical movement that is gaining momentum in recent generations. In an effort to unify all who claim to be followers of Christ, doctrinal distinctions are being abandoned. People who believe in salvation by grace often work with those who teach that one can earn salvation through baptism or church membership. Churches who hold to the authority of the Scripture are joining hands with groups whose belief systems are extra-Biblical. Those who hold to the truth of Christ’s deity are fellowshipping with those who deny this fundamental doctrine: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
Thank God there are churches and believers of like-faith and practice that we can labor with, but we must always recognize the danger of unholy alliances.