Ezra 6

When God’s time has come for the accomplishment of His gracious purposes concerning His church, He will raise up instruments to promote it and from men of whom good service was not expected. The wrath of the enemy may be made to praise God.

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, Shethar-boznai, 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, Shethar-boznai, 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.

Ezra 6 – Prospered in a Difficult Work

   How much depended on the finding of that roll! But God knew where it was, and led them to discover it, and inclined Darius to ratify it. When we are anxious and troubled about our relations to our fellow-men, we do little by worrying, we do much by trusting. Missing documents, alien hearts, tangled skeins, all yield before the hand of our Father working for us. The difficulty raised by their foes really reacted for the benefit of the Jews, for the king decreed that their expenses should be met, and their needs supplied. When we are living upon God’s plan and need material resources for His work, He will see that they are forthcoming from the most unlikely sources, and the revenues of heathen monarchs shall be laid under contribution. When the house was finished it was dedicated, Ezra 6:16. What joy was there but amid all a solemn memory of the sin of the whole people of Israel. Though scattered to the four winds, they could not forget that in God’s sight they were one still. It is highly probable that Psalms 146-150 were composed at this time. Burnt offering and song go together, II Chronicles 29:27. After the dedication was the Passover. Separation must ever precede our feasting on God’s Paschal Lamb, and out of this state of heart, influences proceed which produce the true unity and drawing together of the children of God. —Through the Bible Day by Day

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

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

9 And that which they have ________ of, both young bullocks, and rams, and __________, for the __________ offerings of the God of heaven, __________, salt, wine, and oil, according to the ______________________ of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be __________ them day by day without ________:

Ezra 6:22—The LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the King unto them.

   Yes, the hearts of men are in the hands of God, and He can turn them whither He will. There are many instances of this in Scripture. God gave Joseph favor with Pharaoh; Moses with the Princess; and Daniel with the King of Babylon. If certain matters can only be settled by reference to great men, kings or men of affairs, make the application; and then betake yourself to prayer, believing that as He inclined the heart of Darius, in the instance before us, so He can do as He will among the armies of heaven, and the inhabitants of earth.
   That unkind overseer, that vexatious member of your home-circle, that great man whose help you so greatly need—these are accessible to God’s Spirit, if only you are intent on seeking His glory, and doing His will. But you must be able to show, as these Jews could, that your cause is identical with the cause of God, before you can claim, with unwavering faith, His interference on your behalf.
   Then when the answer comes, let us thank Him, separating ourselves still further from the filthiness around us, so as to keep the feast with joy. Do not be afraid of joy; when God makes you joyful, do not think it necessary to restrain your songs or smiles, for fear that an equivalent of sorrow will presently be meted out as a make weight. Our blessed Lord was desirous that His joy might be in His disciples; it was for the joy that was set before Him that He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God; it is with exceeding joy that He will present us faultless before the presence of His glory. “Thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee” (Deuteronomy 26:11). —Our Daily Homily