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Ezra 6

Talks for Growing Christians

The Opposition’s Strategy Backfires and the Temple Is Completed

Ezra 6

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Lesson Number 6

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God can cause the enemy’s strategy to backfire.
  2. God can cause His people’s projects to sure-fire.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t determine God’s blessing only by numbers.

Questions

  1. An official letter was sent to whom? By whom? What was it about?
  2. What happened as a result?
  3. What was the “execution” clause of King Darius’ decree?
  4. We are familiar with the phrase, “The laws of the Medes and Persians.” Where did this come from?
  5. When Darius issued his edict in favor of the Jews, did it mean that he had become a believer in the one true God of Israel?

Answers

  1. An official letter was sent to King Darius by some Persian officials to search the royal archives for the edict of Cyrus. The Persian officials wanted to stop the Jews from rebuilding their temple in Jerusalem.
  2. The search was made and it proved that King Cyrus had issued the decree about twenty years before this time. The Jews had been given the authority to rebuild their temple. So King Darius issued another decree, backing up the original edict of Cyrus.
  3. See Ezra 6:11-12. If someone altered King Darius’ decree, his house would be pulled down, and from the timbers a scaffold would be erected upon which to hang the guilty person.
  4. It came from such passages as Ezra 6:11-12. Edicts of the Persian kings were serious business, and were not to be altered under penalty of death.
  5. No. Like the other kings, he was a polytheist, wanting to appease the gods of all the nations. King Darius recognized that the God of Israel was a strong God, so he thought that prayers to this God would be helpful to him and to his sons. See Ezra 6:10.

Discuss/Consider

  1. The Persian officials thought they had won their case and that the work on the Jewish temple would be shut down, but God had other plans. Not only did King Darius issue the decree to continue the work on the temple, but He said that the cost would be paid at the king’s (governor’s) expense (Ezra 6:8). What a turnaournd! God can cause the enemy’s strategy to backfire. Note similar examples, both in history and in the present time. Note especially Christ’s work on the cross where Satan thought he had triumphed.
  2. God can cause His people’s projects to sure-fire. Look up the meaning of this word in the dictionary. How does the concept of sure-fire relate to this account? Will your plans sure-fire? Take heart! If your plans and projects are of the Lord they will prosper. See 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Challenge

  1. God’s blessing is not determined by numbers. Compare Ezra 6:17 with 2 Chronicles 7:5. God was just as pleased with Zerubbable’s sacrifices as He was with Solomon’s sacrifices. We have a tendency to think that God is blessing because of large numbers. Not necessarily so!

Key Verses

  • “King Darius issued a decree and a search was made in the archives…” Ezra 6:1
  • “King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem. ‘ Let the house be rebuilt…” Ezra 6:3
  • “The Jews celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy…” Ezra 6:16
  • “…the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in to the work of the house of God…” Ezra 6:22

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