In Ezra 4, we read about opposition faced by the nation against their temple being rebuilt. Accusations are filed and the work of the temple comes to a pause for about 16 years!
Now the questions are “Was it not God’s will for the temple to be rebuilt?” “Didn’t God ask them to come back and provide the provisions so far?” “Did God suddenly change His mind?”
This is what Jesus later refers to in John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world
The paused work stirs up again after rekindling by the prophets Haggai and Zachariah. Zerubbabel and Joshua rise up and starts on the rebuilding as the next wave of opposition hits.
The opposition this time was forwarded to King Darius asking for clarification since Israelites claimed to have already received permission from King Cyrus. Once the matter is clarified, this is what happened:
Ezra 6: 6-12
6 Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you other officials of that province, stay away from there.7 Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site.
8 Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God:
Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop.9 Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given them daily without fail, 10 so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.
11 Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house and they are to be impaled on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble. 12 May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem.
I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.
What a provision!
Now, if there had been no opposition, would this blessing have come through?
Another great example of how God can turn pain into praise!!
The paused work restarts and the temple is rebuilt.
Here Ezra 6 ends and in between Ezra 6 and 7, there is a gap of approx. 58 years during which time the book of Esther occurs.