Discover His heart: He knows the plans He has for us, and He has the power to bring them to pass
The only good thing I can say about the packing up and moving process is that we often run across pictures, notes, and sentiments that we may not have seen for many years. Memories come flooding to our minds of all the special days and special loved ones. In a box of old photographs, I recently discovered a set of documents about my family’s history and their beginnings in their new country, the United States. My rediscovered papers were a joy to read once again, but they were nothing compared to some old documents that were discovered deep in Persia about 2,500 years ago.
Israel has almost always had a difficult time defending, building and rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem on the Holy Hill, Mt. Moriah. Still today, they long to once again worship on the Temple Mount. The situation found in the Book of Ezra was no different for the Jews returning to Jerusalem after their Babylonian captivity. The ruling forces west of the Euphrates River did not want the Jewish refugees to rebuild their Temple, but God had other plans.
Through the encouragement of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the Jewish leaders stated their case to the authorities and finally had to take a stand in order to be faithful to God’s command to build the temple regardless of the opposition. In building our churches, our ministries, and our homes, do we really ever want pagans who oppose God to determine our success? God used the decrees of ungodly rulers, Cyrus and Darius, to change the situation, but the Israelites had to resist intimidation and take a stand.
@ Ezra 6
“So King Darius issued orders that a search be made in the Babylonian archives, which were stored in the treasury. But it was at the fortress at Ecbatana in the province of Media that a scroll was found. This is what it said: ‘Memorandum: In the first year of King Cyrus’s reign, a decree was sent out concerning the Temple of God at Jerusalem. Let the Temple be rebuilt on the site where Jews used to offer their sacrifices, using the original foundations.’” (Ezra 6:1-3) Yes, tucked away in the distant Persian fortress of Ecbatana was an old decree from King Cyrus that the Jews returning home from Babylon captivity should build their temple. Who would have thought of checking for them there?
I doubt someone was packing up and moving across town and just happened to run across this amazing document. Most certainly, God brought about its discovery! God is never threatened by pagan governments or rulers, and He often uses them to carry out His will. Because of this document, King Darius enforced King Cyrus’ decree, and even added benefits to the original deal. I love the way God operates!
“So the Jewish elders continued their work, and they were greatly encouraged by the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. The Temple was finally finished, as had been commanded by the God of Israel and decreed by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the kings of Persia. The Temple was completed on March 12, during the sixth year of King Darius’s reign.” (14-16) As had been commanded by the God of Israel! Ezra had it right – this was God’s plan! Foreign rulers had to bow to it, faithful prophets had to proclaim it, and Jewish elders had to obey it. And some dusty old documents had to be discovered to confirm it.
Whatever His plan is for us today, we can be confident of His unlimited resources to bring it about. I’m so thankful that He is not stymied by opposition and that He helps us find the answers we need at every turn.
Moving Forward: I’m placing my future in His hands today. He’s the One with the plan, and He will bring it to pass.
Tomorrow @ Psalms 134-136