Ezra 6

Ezra 6 has king Darius making a search for the historic records that Tattenai had asked about.  And “a scroll was found….Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt”.  That was what the elders of Judah had hoped for – that the edict would be found and they would be able to continue building.  Darius sends this word to Tattenai and others of his oversight team there: “keep away. Let the work on this house of God alone”.

That was a God thing in and of itself.  But Darius goes much further.  “Let the gold and silver vessels….be restored and brought back to the temple”.  So all the items that had been taken previously were to come back.  But wait, there’s more good news.  This rebuilding project was no small task.  Darius gives this additional good news.  “The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue”.  Not only was the project approved, the items were to be restored, and the costs of the workers were to be covered.  That’s more than an answer to prayer.  It’s a miracle of huge magnitude.

Darius does have a bit of a selfish motive.  He wants it completed “that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons”.  Might as well get some significant benefit out of the deal.  But he goes on to make it clear just how much he is supporting this effort.  It isn’t a little push.  He is dead serious.  “I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill”.  Don’t mess with Darius’ direction here.  It will be fatal.

Quite a change from being told to stop the project and build no more.  The elders made an appeal and trusted God to take action.  As a result of that appeal, God moved and “the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah”.  The project was completed rather quickly and they sacrificed and celebrated together.  God had taken action in their circumstances and given them reason to celebrate!  “The Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God”.

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