GOD will TURN every BLOCKADE to our BENEFIT
May 15 Bible Reading: Ezra Chapters 4-6
"So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them." (Ezra 5:2) "Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy." (Ezra 6:15-16)
When the Jews under the leadership Zerubbabel and Jeshua started building the Temple, the Gentiles in the area of Judah and Jerusalem tried to block the efforts. These were the Samaritans who had been planted in the land of Israel (2 Kings 17) who did not mean to unite in the worship of the Lord according to His word. At first they attempted to join forces and requested that they wanted to be a part of the Temple reconstruction (Ezra 4:1-2). However, Zerubbabel and Jeshua did not allow them to participate as they were wise and discerning. Then these adversaries tried to discourage the people of Judah (v. 4a), troubled the people who were building (v. 4b), and hired counselors to frustrate the building efforts (v. 5). When these attempts still did not succeed, they wrote a letter of accusation against the building efforts (v. 6-16), to which the king responded by promptly halting the construction (v. 17-24).
However, God used prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the leaders (Ezra 5:12) as well as the elders of the Jews to secure permission to resume building the Temple (v. 3-17). In response to this request, King Darius issued a decree for rebuilding the Temple immediately (Ezra 6:1-7). Not only that, the entire cost of rebuilding will be borne by King Darius through the money taken from the taxes of the people (v. 8). All the sacrificial animals and other materials would be provided by the king as well (v. 9-10). If anyone resists the building efforts any more, they would be hanged to death (v. 11-12). "So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia." (Ezra 6:14)