Friday, November 28, 2014

Ulterior Motives?

"When the adversaries of Judah & Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of families and said to them, 'Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of King Esar-haddon of Assyria who brought us here."
(Ezra 4:1-2)

Not everyone who asks to help really wants to help. 

Case in point: Ezra 4.  The Israelites have returned from a 70-year exile in Babylon.  They're starting to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem, as well as the city walls.  Their neighbors offer to help.  Now, on the surface, this looks like a mighty friendly offer!  They even say they're on the same page, spiritually, as them ("We worship God, too!").

The problem is, however, their past.  They've never been friendly & helpful before.  Never.  In fact, the author describes them as "adversaries" of the people of God.  This should be a BIG RED FLAG!  Later, when Zerubbabel flatly denies their request, they write to the King of Persia, "tattle-taling" on the Israelites, and getting a "cease and desist" injunction against their future building.

Not everyone who asks to help really wants to help.

Spiritual discernment is the key.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and confirm if the offer of help is a positive one, or if it comes with ulterior motives.  Then trust that insight.

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