Ezra 4:17-22 – “The king sent this reply: To Rehum the commanding officer, Shimshai the secretary and the rest of their associates living in Samaria and elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates: Greetings. The letter you sent us has been read and translated in my presence. I issued an order and a search was made, and it was found that this city has a long history of revolt against kings and has been a place of rebellion and sedition. Jerusalem has had powerful kings ruling over the whole of Trans-Euphrates, and taxes, tribute and duty were paid to them. Now issue an order to these men to stop work, so that this city will not be rebuilt until I so order. Be careful not to neglect this matter. Why let this threat grow, to the detriment of the royal interests?”
- Okay, don’t read this like a textbook. Be there. Remember the remnant (50,000 people) walked 900 miles from Babylon in order to build God’s Temple. They’ve already endured terrible persecution for years just to be able to sacrifice on the altar they built. Now, a new king has double-crossed them – after they had FULL support of the previous administration. Just because a couple of dirty rotten, mean-girl, politicians got their shorts in a bunch and sweet-talked the new king over to their side. Hrumph! Why would God let this happen? I mean they’re building the Temple for Him – at His command, to fulfill His prophecy through Jeremiah (Ezra 1:1).
Ezra 4:23 – “As soon as the copy of the letter of King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum and Shimshai the secretary and their associates, they went immediately to the Jews in Jerusalem and compelled them by force to stop” (emphasis added).
- King Artaxerxes’ decree said nothing about using force. That was just a little gift from the local politicians to add salt to the wounds.
Ezra 4:24 – “Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.”
- Sometimes God’s plan is postponed, but it’s never cancelled. God ALWAYS wins. He always fulfills His promises. Always.
Lord, I’m so NOW oriented that I forget tomorrow is Yours, too. Remind me of Your faithfulness and Your perfect understanding of the whole plan for the whole world for all time. When I realize your presence in the future as well as the past, all the unanswerable questions suddenly come under the comforting umbrella of Your knowledge and protection. Thank You, Father, for being the God of the now, the then and the to come.