An honest letter had been sent to King Darius regarding the efforts of the Jews in Jerusalem. What would the king find when he searched the records for the decree of Cyrus, an earlier ruler? Would the local adversaries of the Jews be successful in intimidating those who were working on this project?
The record of Cyrus’ decree was in fact discovered and it supported the claims of the Jews. The response of Darius’ government was direct and plain. Those who wanted to stop the work of rebuilding needed to stay away. Beyond that, the king insisted that local monetary support be provided from the tax payments of the very people who had attempted to stop this mission. Furthermore, everything that was necessary to begin the Jewish sacrificial system once again needed to be provided by the local authorities.
The king wanted to see this work accomplished. He wanted the Jewish religious authorities to seek the Lord for his own well-being and that of his descendants. He also included serious sanctions against anyone who might meddle with this correspondence or in any way interfere with the work of rebuilding.
The local officials obeyed the king’s word. Eventually the work of temple reconstruction was accomplished. The house of God was dedicated and the Passover was celebrated. The Jews were grateful for this wonderful turn of events.
Even in an era that may seem quite bleak for the church, encouraging accounts of faithfulness and diligence come our way. These are all from the hand of God. He is the One who gave us His Son to be our atoning sacrifice. He laid the first stone in the new resurrection temple of the Lord through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Since that great time the walls of the Lord’s temple have been going up all over the world. We should always thank the Lord for that.
Temporary setbacks can never change the Lord’s settled purpose. The full temple of God, the glorious body of Christ, will be raised up. Do not be discouraged. Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, You are surely above all rulers. You will work out Your holy will. No adversary who sets himself against You will finally win. You make even the wrath of Your enemies to praise You. Providences that seemed an insurmountable hindrance turn out to be just what was necessary for Your work to be done with the greatest blessing and fruitfulness. Help us to trust You even in the day of great disappointment and confusion, and grant us eyes to see Your vindication in the day of Your power. We long for the completion of the building up of Your heavenly temple as You bring people to Yourself and turn us away from sin. We thank You for the one great offering of Your Son for us. We give ourselves entirely to You for Your good purposes. We turn away from the unclean lusts of the world, and we give our lives again this day to the building of Your holy city.