Ezra 5-6
(Temple Rebuilt)
May 16th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Now listen, Tattenai governor of the land beyond the Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, associates, and all officials of that land: Stay out of their way. Leave the governor and leaders of the Jews alone so they can work on that Temple of God as they rebuild it.

- Ezra 5:6:7

Summary of Chapters

In this set of chapters the first group of exiles continued their work re-building the temple. But in chapter 5 we learn of another objection.

One of the Persian officials, Tattenai, sent a letter to King Darius questioning the legality of the re-building of the temple. Darius ordered a documental retrieval process that led to the discovery of a decree from Cyrus in the archives. This decree stated that Cyrus had ordered the re-building of the temple, therefore Darius allowed it and declared that money for the rebuilding would come from the royal treasury and the that project should “be carried out with diligence (Ezra 6:12 - NIV).” In addition, he decreed a harsh punishment for anyone who interferes with the project.

The Israelites thus completed the temple free of harassment, dedicated it, and celebrated Passover.

    For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the LORD had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.

    - Ezra 6:22 (NIV)

Reflection and Application

The twelve sons of Jacob (Israel) had grown to tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of descendants.

At its peak, the mighty nation of Israel could boast of a population in excess of one million people. But then the nation split and the people split from God, exposing them to the dangers of their neighbors and eventual exile.

The first group to return was a small remnant, perhaps about 40,000 to 50,000 people. But they were a determined people. They resolved to return and were firmly focused on completing the temple, albeit in a smaller version than the original.

Likewise, God was unwavering in his plan to bring them back – not because of anything they did to earn it, but because he loved them and wanted to rebuild the nation that would serve as a light to the world.

There are at least two key lessons that we can take away from this section: First, We ought to carry on with the work that God called us to do, regardless of interference of others, as the Israelis did when the Persian official began to question them about the temple. Second, we can remind ourselves that God can use any person or object in creation to achieve his will, as he did with Darius and the retrieval of Cyrus’s decree.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions

    1. Can you think of a case in your life where a long-lost document resolved a conflict with certainty?
    2. What are the interference patterns that threaten to thwart the work that God has in mind for you?
    3. How can God use you to fulfill his plans for today?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know you are patient, forgiving and loving. Please help us to work towards fulfilling your plans.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Librarians and documentation specialists who preserve our records

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Ezra 7-10 (Second Group of Returnees)

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