Ezra 4-7

What does it say?
The people who had been placed in the land by Esarhaddon king of Assyria requested to take part in the building of the temple but where rejected by the people of Judah. Therefore, the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah. They also wrote a letter to king Ahasuerus accusing the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem saying, if they are allowed to rebuild the walls of the city they will revolt. The king wrote a decree to stop the work because it was found in the records that the city had a history of rebellion. The work was stopped until the second year of Darius king of Persia. During the days of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah the building project resumed. The adversaries wrote to Darius requesting that he look into his records to see if Cyrus had in fact written a decree for the Jews to rebuild the temple. It was found in the records that a decree had been issued for rebuilding the temple as well as the cost. Darius, therefore, issued a decree for the Jews to be left alone in the rebuilding of the temple and that the priest be paid from the taxes of the people, so that the priests may make acceptable sacrifices to God and pray for him and his sons; he also warned of death to anyone who hindered the rebuilding of the temple. The temple was completed during the sixth year of the reign of Darius. Israel, the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles celebrated the dedication of the temple, they offered many sacrifices to the Lord and reinstitution of regular sacrificial service. The exiles observed the Passover on the fourteenth of the first month, followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with joy, glorifying God for putting it into the hearts of the king to encourage them. During the seventh year of king Artaxerxes, Ezra came to Jerusalem with others, the journey from Babylon took four months; Ezra was a teacher of the law. Ezra arrived in Jerusalem with much silver, gold and a decree from Artaxerxes to use them in temple service as they see fit. The decree also gave an allotment from the governs of the land to give whatever Ezra needs and a statement that the those who serve in the temple are not to be taxed. Artaxerxes also gave Ezra the power to appoint judges in the land and teach the law of the Lord. Ezra wrote a note of thanksgiving to the Lord, the God of the fathers of Israel.

What does it mean?
The will of the Lord cannot be stopped. God can and will use evil for good. No matter how difficult it may seem or how many obstacles might be put in the way. If God wills it, it will be done. Gamaliel gave council regarding this fact to the leaders in Jerusalem regarding the Christians. He said, “stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39) Do not be found on the side fighting against God because you will loose.

What shall I do?
I shall read and study the word of the Lord. I shall pray for the Spirit of truth that he may give me understanding, so that I may know the truth. I know that Jesus has defeated sin and death. He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. He has commissioned the church to make disciples, baptize the new disciples and teach them to observe all that he commanded. (Mt. 28:18-20) This will continue to the end of the age and no force will stop it. Therefore, I shall go and make disciples; baptizing and teaching them as the Lord has commanded without fearing evil men. 

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