Day 240 – Ezra 5-6

August 28, 2022

Ezra 5

1 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.

2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

3 At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?

4 Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building?

5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.

6 The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:

7 They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace.

8 Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.

9 Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls?

10 We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them.

11 And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up.

12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.

13 But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.

14 And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;

15 And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place.

16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished.

17 Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king’s treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.

Ezra 6

1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.

2 And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:

3 In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits;

4 With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king’s house:

5 And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.

6 Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence:

7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.

8 Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.

9 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail:

10 That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.

11 Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.

12 And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.

13 Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily.

14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

16 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy.

17 And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.

18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.

19 And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month.

20 For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.

21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat,

22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the Lord had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Daily Devotion

By Susan Jeffries

In chapter 5 of the book of Ezra we see the prophets Haggai and Zachariah prophesying over Jerusalem and Judah. They were set to rebuild the temple.

“Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.” ‭‭Ezra‬ ‭5:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Right here, I would like to point out when God is in the middle of what we are doing there will always be confirmation and backing by the prophet or pastor we are submitted to.

God provides support when He calls us to accomplish a task or sends us on a mission or into a ministry. Likewise there will be opposition.

And… like clockwork came the naysayers, let’s look at parts of verse 3 and 4 of Ezra chapter 5.

“At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus: “Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure? What are the names of the men who are building this building?” (Ezra 5:3-4 in part.)

Name , date and serial number please, blood type, oh, and what did you have for breakfast? Did you pray? Are you even a child of God?? ( I jest). 

Well, that would certainly be discouraging. And furthermore, this inquiry went all the way up to the king.

A letter was sent to the king by Tattenai almost sounding like a tattletale loaded with accusatory emotion.

You can read the letter for yourself found in Ezra 6:3-5.

They may not have been as outrageous as my imagination depicts this scene but it seems that way. When Word is not taken for truth and it is taken all the way to the top to make sure the truth is being told, it does sound accusatory And possibly demeaning.

They wanted proof that the temple could indeed be rebuilt. They wanted the hard tangible facts, the paperwork, they wanted to see it in writing. 

Keep that thought in your mind and let’s rewind back to Sister Christy’s devotion.

Specifically, Ezekiel chapter 37 in the valley of dry bones. If God were to ask her “Can these dry bones come to life?” her honest response was “Absolutely not.” Most likely we would all respond the same way.

Ezekiel didn’t say that. He said, “God thou knowest!”

OK now merge the two thoughts together. If we trust God to know what He’s doing and we follow, there will always be naysayers. Now, remember the reaction Ezekiel gave to God. It wasn’t a reaction loaded with, “Are you kidding me?” Or “You’re crazy, why are you asking me?” When comparing these two situations I noticed that the attitude of Ezekiel in believing that God could  raise an army out of dead dry bones could be the same level of faith applied to every single situation, even when the naysayers come. The difference in what we MIGHT do compared to what we SHOULD do. Is our attitude and our belief full of faith?

Now back to Ezra…

The attitude that the prophets and the people of God had towards this inquiry was gleaming. I didn’t read one word of negativity. they were silent and allowed the investigation into this rebuild to be pursued. They possess a good attitude.

Remember when I said the prophets and the people of God were gleaming? 

Not every situation turns out how we want it but it will always be the way God designed it to be and possibly amazing depending on our attitude. When God is involved it will always work out. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭KJV‬‬

The rest of chapter 6 details what king Darius said to the naysayers. He issued a  decree which warned the governor and his colleagues to stay away and allow the temple to be rebuilt. The decree listed what  the governor and the people of that land were to provide for God‘s people as they were rebuilding. (Ezra‬ ‭6:8-10‬ ‭)

Basically in a nutshell they had to provide what the Jews needed for sacrificing plus food and the King gave them the taxpayers money to help.

If they did not follow this decree, they could die. 

Wow! King Darius admonished the Jews and protected them.

That’s a “ha ha ha see what you get for messing with us” kind of moment but the prophets and the Jews did not do that. They kept a good attitude.

Today we look to Jesus.

Jesus died for every single one of us. His grace and mercy covers us. In your hardest times don’t shut God out, buckle down and let God know that you believe what he’s doing even if you can’t see it. Keep lifting your hands in worship, keep opening wide your arms as a funnel and allow God to pour into you the ability to stand against all odds and to believe the impossible. 

Grow your faith like a mustard seed. Water it with prayer and watch that seed get deeply rooted, grow up strong and produce branches that produce much fruit, fruit for all seasons of your life.