Restoration of The Temple Resumed

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Renewal

As this chapter opens Artaxerxes, the king who had forbidden the Jews to work on the temple, had been slain and a new king, Darius, had been on the throne for over a year. However no attempt had been made to start building again because everyone was discouraged including the leader Zerubbabel and Joshua. The building of the temple was stopped about fifteen years. Then they had two good ministers, who urged them to go on with the work. God sends Haggai and Zechariah to encourage and strengthen the people as they exhort them to commence again their work of rebuilding (v. 1). To accomplish this Haggai and Zechariah not only preached but they rolled up their sleeves and also got involved in the labor (v. 2).

The renewal of this construction project brought to Jerusalem, Tatnai, the governor of all the provinces. He wanted to know who authorized the building and who was involved in supervising this project (vv. 3-4). From the letter written, it is evident that Zerubbabel informed them of the decree of Cyrus. Tatnai did not make the Jews stop building. Rather, he permitted them to continue until he received official word from the king (v. 5). This act of kindness can be attributed to the providence of God. He directs and controls all circumstances and incidents of life.

Application

Even though others may try to delay, confuse or frustrate me in doing God’s work I can be sure that He will accomplish His purpose. All I need to do is concentrate on God’s purpose and not be sidetracked by accusations or slander.

Ezra 5:1-5 (English Standard Version)

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. 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?" They also asked them this: "What are the names of the men who are building this building?" But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until the report should reach Darius and then an answer be returned by letter concerning it.

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