By Nancy Stevens
Today's Scripture: Ezra 5:1-6:22
Central Thought: God can dramatically intervene-and even change the mind of those who oppose us.
The Jewish people had enthusiastically started rebuilding the temple and had resumed offering sacrifices until King Artaxerxes ordered an immediate halt to the work. For eighteen discouraging years the people waited, unable to complete what God had called them to do.
Then the Lord sent two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, to tell the people to resume building. Once again, their enemies tried to stop them, sending a report to King Darius. 'But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received” (Ezra 5:5, NIV).
What did King Darius decide? He ordered the troublemakers, 'Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God” (6:7). Moreover, he decreed that the royal treasury would pay the building expenses and that the animals needed for the daily sacrifices must be provided.
With the assistance of King Darius, the people completed the temple and joyfully dedicated it. The Lord had changed the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on God's house (6:22). Darius concluded, 'May God . . . overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem” (6:12).
If you face disappointing delays and opposition, do not abandon hope. God can intervene dramatically at a time and in a way you may not expect.
Devotional Prayer: Father, help us to remember that even after what seems to be a lengthy delay in answering our prayer, You can still unexpectedly intervene and even give us favor with someone who may have opposed us.
Today's Bible Reading: Ezra 5:1-6:22; 1 Corinthians 3:5-23; Psalm 29:1-11; Proverbs 20:26-27