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 Esar-haddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither (Ezra 4:2).
When the small band of Jews came back to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple, it would seem they would have welcomed the help of these apparently friendly seekers of God. Instead, they specifically refused to accept them into their fellowship, saying: Ye have nothing to do with us (Ezra 4:3).
This policy would surely be adjudged impractical and unloving in some of todays seeker-friendly mega-churches. One would think the Jews would even have sought the help of the people of the land, getting them to participate in their temple building, thus benefiting from their material assistance and also increasing the numbers of worshippers.
But the decision was right. The religion of the land was a mixture of some Biblical truth diluted with paganism. The trouble these seekers later caused as outside opponents of the project would have been much more serious if they had become insiders. Doctrinal integrity in a Christian ministry is more important in the long run than bigness achieved by pragmatic compromise. What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; . . . Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord (II Corinthians 6:16,17).
We need to remember that an idol can be any commitment that draws us away from Gods word in order to achieve peer acceptance. Even a covetous spirit is called idolatry in Scripture (Ephesians 5:5). God promises an ongoing open door of witness, not to the rich and famous, but to those who have little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied my name (Revelation 3:8). HMM