Monday 19th February 2018 - Daily Reading:
Ezra 6 - Repeated and Reinforced by Karen Cowling

We ended last week with a letter to King Darius from the leaders of the Trans-Euphrates yet again trying to halt the work on the temple. The previous letter that had been to Artaxerxes had been successful in stopping the work, and so Tattenai probably hopes that it will work again. Tattenai unfortunately asks for it to be checked if there was a decree in Israelís favour.

Darius has the records checked and sees what has been put by Cyrus. Darius then reissues the decree. He says how the work needs to be continued and repeats what had been said by Cyrus.

Unfortunately for Tattenai, Darius does not stop there. Darius goes on to command Tattenai and others around him in the Trans-Euphrates to leave them to build. But not just leave them; they are to give them money out of the revenues of the Trans-Euphrates. They are to provide animals for sacrifices and they are to support Israel in the building of the temple, which they had hoped they could stop. All of this comes with a very harsh punishment if they are to try again to stop the building; they would be impaled on a beam from their own house, and the house made to be rubble.

This results in the temple being finished, because Tattenai and his associates carried out Dariusí commands with diligence, and so enabled the Israelites to continue. The people rejoice at the finishing of the temple, and unlike when the foundations were laid, there was both weeping and praising. All the people are praising at the completion of the temple.

The first festival they celebrate in the newly finished temple is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. These returned exiles celebrate the exodus from Egypt, and also their own return to the promise land.

We need to remember what God has done for us every step of the way. We should look back at His glory and grace in our lives to give us inspiration to move forward knowing that the God we serve will do immeasurably more than what has gone before. So, praise him again for what he has done, what he is doing, and what he is going to do!

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