Whoah! Didn’t see that one coming!
More often than not, when I’m reading the Bible, things just sort of pop up that I don’t remember reading or I suppose I just never read before. Maybe I skipped over it, maybe my mind just took a little nap while my eyes continued reading on or maybe I’m justing gettng old and forgot.
Except every now and then you come across things that you kind of think, “Um, hey, I don’t think I would forget that.”
The book of Ezra.
It has its ups and downs. Life for God’s people as they return to Jerusalem is no easy task. As they work to rebuild the city, the wall and the temple, God is rebuilding their hearts.
Throughout the pages we can see unity, courage, obedience, and commitment. God’s people faced great opposition as well as great favor.
Recently I was reading about King Darius showing favor to God’s people. It started out pretty innocently. Darius was searching for proof that King Cyrus has indeed issued a decree to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
It turns out that Cyrus did issue the decree and so Darius sends out his own royal memo instructing the building of the temple to continue with the cost being picked up by the royal treasury.
But there’s more!
The trouble makers are told to leave the Israelites alone and make sure they have everything they need daily–without fail–so that “they can offer sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the well being of the king and his sons.”
Nice! Darius obviously had a pretty good idea here who God was and what he is capable of.
But then, he adds these words to the end of the memo:
“Further more I decree that if anyone changes this edict, a beam is to be pulled from his house and he is to be lifted up and impaled on it. And for this crime his house is to be a pile of rubble. May God, who has caused his Nme to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem.
I, Darius, have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.”
Holy Cow! That’s pretty intense.
I guess not only did Darius have a good idea who God was and what He was capable of, he also had a pretty good idea who the people around him were, and what they were capapble of.
Honestly, I can’t say that I completely understand this whole thing. I’ve read that it was