The Lord’s people needed to hear from God. Yahweh had called them back into the land, but they were soon frustrated by the adversaries who had succeeded in stopping their work on the temple.
God sent two prophets to the people, Haggai and Zechariah. We have their words of divine encouragement recorded for us in the Scriptures, The Lord was instructing His people to move forward with the great task they had been given despite the opposition that they faced.
Zerubbabel, from the line of King David, and Jeshua, the High Priest, heard the call from the Lord’s prophets and led the people forward in obedience. They began to rebuild the temple.
They had to know that they would face renewed opposition. The report of their efforts would soon reach Darius the king.
The letter that was sent to the king by their enemies contained an accurate account of what had happened to the Jews in prior years and what they were doing now. The destruction of the temple had come to pass because of the Lord’s anger against His chosen flock. Now they had been sent back into the land in order to rebuild His house.
The decree of Cyrus in the first year of his reign was mentioned specifically in the letter to Darius. It was Cyrus who had commanded that this house of the God of the Jews be rebuilt. The letter urged that the historical accuracy of these matters be investigated and that the local authorities be informed regarding the results.
This was the second letter sent east to the imperial powers. The first correspondence had led to the suspension of all work on the temple. Only when God gave His Word through His prophets did the work begin again. But now what would happen? Could God’s Word stand in the face of continued correspondence with the king?
The Lord did not send Haggai and Zechariah to the people by a spirit of confusion. The people needed to trust the Word of the Lord. They needed to believe that God was able to move the heart of the king in the direction of the truth. Every assertion that the leaders of the Jews had made regarding their history and their current purpose was true.
We can have this same confidence regarding the Lord’s plans for His church in our day. Christ’s death and resurrection must be proclaimed regardless of the opposition that we face. We need to be faithful to the charge we have from our Lord even when the road ahead seems impassable. Our God will make a way for us to move forward with His good purposes.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O God of Grace and Glory, thank You for the encouragement of Your Word that comes through Your prophets. You are above all human authorities. There is no place that is closed to You. There is no good work that men will be able to stop if You say that it must proceed. Grant us diligence and wisdom. How can we keep on going with such opposition from enemies seen and unseen? Above all we seek Your leading and power. We need discernment to distinguish between useless projects that You have not commanded, and works of mercy, justice, and truth that You will surely bless. Grant us wisdom that we would spend our lives on those things most pleasing to You.