Monday, September 22, 2008


Girls are mean. If you’re a man, you need to find a woman a shake her hand. Congratulate her on surviving her childhood and teenage years – because girls are downright mean. So much so that Hollywood made a movie called, Mean Girls, and it grossed over $86,000,000 because every scarred female in America went to see it! I, too, have been scarred. In fifth grade I was included in a tight-knit group of four friends: Annette, Julie, Janice and me. Two of the girls’ last names were “Scott.” Well, over one weekend, the two “Scotts” spent quality time at each other’s homes, and when they came to school on Monday, they had formed a tight bond, calling themselves the “Scott Sisters.” They produced a box of Scott tissues and proclaimed it their symbol of solidarity (They of course didn’t call it solidarity in 5th grade, but you know what I mean…). Well, Janice and I felt terribly left out, and we responded to their taunting with a little taunting of our own. We began calling them (quite appropriately, I thought) the “Snotty Scotty Sisters.” Get it? Scott tissues – Snotty Scottys. See? Girls are mean. Boys on the other hand simply punch each other in the nose and get over it…that is, until they grow up and get into politics. Then they turn into girls. They get mean. They turn into Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The remnant in Jerusalem had to deal with some of these mean political scoundrels, and it’s good to analyze some of the common tricks of the enemy. Because our enemy still uses some of the same ones today.

Ezra 4:6-7a – “At the beginning of the reign of Xerxes, they lodged an accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem. And in the days of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his associates wrote a letter to Artaxerxes.”
  • TACTIC #1 – THE ENEMY IS RELENTLESS – Twenty years separated these two kings, and the enemy renewed the accusations with Xerxes new administration. Oftentimes the enemy’s plan is simply to wear us down.

Ezra 4:7b, 18 – “The letter was written in Aramaic script and in the Aramaic language…the king sent his reply…The letter you sent us has been read and translated in my presence.”

  • TACTIC #2 – THE ENEMY SPEAKS HIS OWN LANGUAGE – The enemy fills our minds with his words – negative, fearful, self-loathing, cynical words. Then, too often we translate it into our own lives.

Ezra 4:8-11 – “Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows: Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary, together with the rest of their associates--the judges and officials over the men from Tripolis, Persia, Erech and Babylon, the Elamites of Susa, and the other people whom the great and honorable Ashurbanipal deported and settled in the city of Samaria and elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates. (This is a copy of the letter they sent him.) To King Artaxerxes, From your servants, the men of Trans-Euphrates…”

  • TACTIC #3 – THE ENEMY EXAGGERATES HIS POWER – Rehum and Shimshai wrote this letter, but it sounds like many more, doesn’t it? Satan was defeated when Jesus rose from the grave! Our enemy blusters and makes himself sound far more powerful than he really is. He’d like us to forget the power Christians possess in Jesus’ Name.

Ezra 4:12-13 – “The king should know that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are restoring the walls and repairing the foundations. Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built and its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty will be paid, and the royal revenues will suffer.”

  • TACTIC #4 – THE ENEMY EXPLOITS OUR FEARS – A king’s treasury meant success or failure, life or death. What are you most afraid of? That’s where the enemy will most likely attack – or where he’ll threaten attack.

Ezra 4:14-16 – “Now since we are under obligation to the palace and it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king, so that a search may be made in the archives of your predecessors. In these records you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings and provinces, a place of rebellion from ancient times. That is why this city was destroyed. We inform the king that if this city is built and its walls are restored, you will be left with nothing in Trans-Euphrates.”

  • TACTIC #5 – THE ENEMY SPEAKS FLATTERY AND A FORM OF TRUTH – In this letter, the enemy assures the king of his allegiance before accusing the remnant of treason. They say Jerusalem was “a rebellious city, troublesome to kings…from ancient times.” But there were a lot of facts surrounding Jerusalem’s history that weren’t included, so the twisted truth takes root in the king’s mind as a lie that seems factual.

Lord, when I referred to “the enemy,” in most instances I was speaking in the spiritual sense of my eternal enemy, Satan. But, just as the remnant in Jerusalem faced human enemies that sought to destroy their efforts toward You, I have faced people who sought to harm me physically, emotionally and spiritually. Show me how You want me to act in those relationships. Show me how to see them through Your eyes as worthy of Your love and yet protect myself from further harm.

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