“you have nothing in common with us” – Ezra 4:3
These were the words of Zerubbabel and others to the people of the land who wished to corrupt God’s remnant people.
I have read that perhaps the words were impolitic and could have been stated differently. I disagree.
What would be gained by saying, “You know, we really really like you. And we sure wish you godspeed. What an awesome thing that you have been worshiping Yahweh, albeit with your idols as well, but gosh, you sure worship Yahweh! We are really troubled that we can’t have you building with us. Maybe next time.”?
I think Joshua and Zerubbabel and the elders did it exactly right. Blunt and to the point, saying, “you have nothing in common with us.”
But these words are hard. If a man wants to preach in the church, are you afraid to call it like it is if he isn’t preaching the truth? Do you tell him, “I’m not judging you” when you should be judging? If you have no judgment, the pulpit and the congregation is in danger with this tepid and fearful leadership.
There is a particularly beautiful passage in Malachi 3 that speaks of the faithful remnant. It says, “16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. 17 “They will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.” Take note of the last words. God’s people distinguish between what is right and wrong. Just like Zerubbabel, Christians must keep clear of everything that is not of God.
Don’t be afraid. Just tell it like it is. Sincerely, Dan