How else is it possible to describe what happened in today’s passage after we read of the threat from opposition yesterday which resulted in the work of the temple building ceasing.
By the words spoken from the prophets of God – Haggai and Zechariah, the people of Israel, starting with their leaders (Zerubbabel and Jeshua) went ahead to continue building the temple. This was clearly against the order given by king Artaxerxes, who had instructed the work to cease.
The governor of that region by the name Tatnai, then rose up and queried them saying, “who commanded you to build this house”? They were not answerable to Tatnai, and the matter eventually got to Darius the king. God was with these elders as the work continued. The response they gave as shown in the letter sent to Darius was that, they were God’s servants who went into captivity because of their sins, however God had allowed them to come back through the decree of Cyrus, and they have received commandment to rebuild the temple which was built many years ago by their king. They even made it known to Darius that Cyrus delivered back to them the vessels stolen from God’s house through Sheshbazzar the governor, who he also gave order that the house of God should be built in his place.
What a boldness, what a courage! This could only come from seeking God and listening to his words of prophecy as we saw the prophets do. No matter what the opposition is, God’s word is able to give comfort, boldness and courage to continue. we can know how to answer the adversaries with his wisdom, and we can fulfill the good intentions he has laid on our minds.
Some verses to remember
vs 2: Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.
vs 5: But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.