• By Rev. Joseph A Bias

Victory Despite The Resistance

“Now therefore,Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-boznai, and your companions the Persians who are beyond the River, keep yourselves far from there. 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 on its site. Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this house of God: Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered. And whatever they need—young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem—let it be given them day by day without fail, that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons.” Ezra 6:6-10

After Cyrus the King of Persia conquered Babylon and released the Jews to return to Jerusalem, King Cyrus issued a decree that the Temple of Solomon and the Wall around Jerusalem which the Babylonians had destroyed should be rebuilt. Now both Cyrus and Darius kings of Persia knew Daniel and were familiar with God’s favor on the children of Israel, on Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and how God had delivered them from the fiery furnace. They believed that the God of Daniel, of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was the true God. [See Also Daniel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1and 2 Chronicles, Nehemiah and Ezra]

The initial degree by Cyrus king of Persia, [2 Chronicles 36:22-23] freed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple. Darius who followed Cyrus as King of Persia decreed and made provision for the second temple to be built and Zerubbabel, governor of Judah was the overseer who began the work. [Ezra 5:2] But all work on the temple ceased for several years [Ezra 4:4-24] because of a decree by Artaxerxes who reigned as king in Persia after Cyrus, and was given cause to believe that if the Jews were allowed to rebuild their temple they would pose a threat to the king of Persia and his family, so he halted the work and the temple lay unfinished until the second year of the reign of Darius, king of Persia.

During his reign the Jews again began to complete the rebuilding of temple and again they were rebuffed by others who opposed them, but they could not stop the work. So, those who opposed the work petitioned Darius, the king to declare a decree that the work on the Temple must cease and that it not be reinitiated.

But king Darius did not do their bidding but commanded that the work of rebuilding the Temple should continue and that the kings around them should give them whatever they needed and that any additional expenses that the Jews required to rebuild heir Temple would be provided by the king’s treasury. Moreover anyone who attempted to hinder them in any way would be hung on a gallows made from the timbers of their own houses.

Later after the Temple was rebuilt Nehemiah obtained favor with Artaxerxes, king of Persia to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Wall that was still in ruins since the time of the Babylonian invasion.

The message of these events for us today is that despite the Word of God that came first through Jeremiah the prophet, that the Temple would be rebuilt and the decrees of the Kings of Persia, there were still those who were determined to oppose it and to do everything in their power to prevent it from happening. Likewise, when Nehemiah, by the word of Artaxerxses, king of Persia, began rebuilding the Wall around Jerusalem he and all those working on the wall were also threatened and opposed by men who were determined to see them fail. [See Nehemiah 4:7-22]

Yet, despite the opposition the Temple was rebuilt and the Wall was restored.

In the midst of doing what God has called us to do; what we have by faith set our hands to; whatever we have decided to believe God to provide for us, or to have realized in our lives, or the lives of our loved ones; whatever we have prayed for and hoped for, or sacrificed for, or diligently by faith in God determined to accomplish, we need to arm ourselves to resist the devil who comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy.

Once armed, we then, need only to stand. And having done all, to stand, dressed in the full armor of God, ready to fight equipped with His weapons of warfare. We need to fight the good fight of faith in the spirit, wrestling not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. In the end God, our God will give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10

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