Two more points in my reading of Ezra that I initially suggested were: G-d’s prophets must stir up the people AND appeal to non-Jewish leaders to honor previously granted commitments to G-d’s people while declaring they are following the G-d of Israel; Once again, a non-rebellious, non-Jewish leader looks reasonably into the records and sees that the Jews are entitled to rebuild their temple, and commits to help also.
In my reading of Ezra, even though the rebuilding of the Temple had been objected to, and the Jews ordered to stop work, it continued. Perhaps it continued only very slowly. Perhaps it was problematic even among the Jewish Returnees. I can image some Jews saying to others who might be working on the Temple, “Hey, we have orders not rebuild. We have to honor those orders.” I can also imagine some Jews beginning to side with the non-Jewish residents of the area, even telling them when building is going on so that protests can be made. Non-Jews then would be telling the Jews not to follow G-d’s desires, not to follow after G-d’s heart, that the king had ordered them to stop.
Finally a couple of men begin to see things from G-d’s perspective, and encourage actively rebuilding the Temple. And this time, these wise men appeal to the king based upon King Cyrus’s decree. And they win. The decree is located in the archives, and permission is granted to continue the building. Not only does the current king, King Darius, allow it to begin, he helps fund it.
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. 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. 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: 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.
King Darius even desires prayers be made for him and his sons. Once again, a non-Jewish leader has reverence for the Lord, G-d of All.
Ezra provides a picture of Restoration. It models getting back to the basics. Once apart, we must get back to a stable place from where we can begin to celebrate in the Lord in the Community of Believers. We can then rebuilt our selves as Temples of the LORD. It seems clear that today, as Believers, we will go through periods in our lives in which we find resistance to our focus. And as we begin to slow down our work, our hope is that G-d will send someone to encourage us in our journey, our seeking, of G-d’s heart. We seek G-d’s heart and His Temple in us is restored.
There are other lessons in the remaining chapters of Ezra. There is another group of exiles to return. There are more corrections to be made in the religious observance of the Jews in Israel. It is like this for us, too. We ascend a tower, following a circular stairway. We look out a window each new level, and see more of the landscape then previous levels. We continue on. We will do this our entire lives, until the Lord calls us to Him, in death or in His return to Earth. We grow. And every now and then we must take a time in which we return to the basics, renewing our vows and journey with our Messiah, Y’shuaJesus.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .