“..when the adversaries of Judah heard the descendants were building the temple of the Lord God….they troubled them in building and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose..”  Ezra 4:1, 4, 5

“Then King Darius issued a decree…..moreover you shall do for the elders of these Jews for the building of the house of God:  Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense……”  Ezra 6:1, 8

Ezra is one of those books in the bible that I must admit (much to my error) I have often overlooked.  Yet in reading the book, thanks be to God and the Holy Spirit for revealing a powerful truth.  There is a great and uplifting truth in this book.  So perhaps you find yourself in a situation where at work or among your friends there are few people of faith.  Maybe it seems that world is arrayed against you, trying to thwart your faith and raising obstacle after obstacle to what you feel is your God given purpose.  If you are feeling that way then take heart and be confident in the Book of Ezra.

In a previous post, I had outlined how, by the plan of God, Cyrus that King of Persia had conquered the Babylonians and decreed that the people of Israel were to return to Jerusalem and furthermore they were to rebuild the temple destroyed by the Babylonians.  As many of us can attest to, Satan is not one to give up easy.  For when the people returned to Jerusalem, even though there was the king’s edict, the people of the surrounding lands had no desire to see a rejuvenated kingdom of Judah.  These were not God fearing people and they remembered how God had loved and protected the people of Judah against them and wanted to stop the rebuilding in anyway possible.  Then they saw their chance.

King Cyrus had died and King Darius ruled in his place.  King Darius was not readily familiar with the edict that his father had made concerning the Jews.  So some local princes and a king of the people arrayed against Judah sent King Darius a letter outlining the rebellious nature of the people of Judah and how allowing them to rebuild the temple will only lead to trouble.  King Darius initially is open to the letter but decides to search back to find out if his father had made a decree and if so, what his father had said.

Finding his father’s, King Cyrus’ edict, that indeed stated that the Jewish people were to be allowed to return to their homeland, allowed to rebuild the temple, and even given back the temple furnishings stolen by the Babylonians, King Darius makes his own decree.  King Darius’ decree is not only in agreement with his father’s but it goes even further.  It says that the taxes of the local kingdoms around Judah are to go to support the rebuilding of the temple.  He further states if anyone is found apposing the Jewish people, that their house is to be torn down and that person is to be hanged on the timbers from his own home.  Again understand, King Darius was not a follower of God Almighty.  Yet that did not stop God from using King Darius as a protection for His people.  King Darius’ decree works, the temple is rebuilt, Jerusalem is rebuilt and the people rejoice.

So what is this book to do with us and what comfort should we take from it? Much indeed.  For King Cyrus and King Darius ruled over the most powerful kingdom of their time.  Yet with all their earthly power, the Power of God Almighty over them, to use them to do His will was exceedingly far greater still.  God had a plan to hear the repentant call of His people from Babylon.  He had a plan to return His people to Jerusalem.  He had a plan to have the temple rebuilt.  And no earthly or spiritual power was going to stop God’s plan.  If God needed a pagan king to be a part in carrying out His plan then that is exactly what was going to happen.

Thus even today, when we see society make decisions that seem to be turning away from God.  When you find yourself at work or in another situation where you are the only believer.  If you find that there are many who seem hell bent on trying to stop you from living out what God has intended for you to do; in faith, be without fear or trepidation.  For non can withstand the Will of God.  His perfect plan will come to fruition.  There is no power that can overcome Him or thwart His plan for you.  His enemies will fail.  His people will triumph.  We must insure that we are humble in that triumph knowing it was not we who brought about the success; it was truly God Almighty.

So let us go forth in confidence and in the faith of God based on the Book of Ezra.  Understanding by this example how Paul can proclaim centuries later in his letter to the Romans; that in all things God works for the good for those who love Him.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we mightily proclaim and are eternally thankful that You are on Your throne and there is none who are above You or more powerful than You.  Thank you that in Your Mercy, You look down upon us in Love sheltering us in Your Arms.  Praise to You that You will use all of Your creation, whether they believe in You or not to see that Your Will is done.  Pour out Your Spirit that we might see Your works manifested in this world and praise Your Most Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen