The children of Israel disobeyed God and were sent into captivity because their covenant was based on performance. If you do good then you will blessed and if you do bad you will be punished. so they were punished and sent into captivity.
We should appreciate God for our covenant that is based on grace.
Joh 1:17 KJV For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
While in captivity, Jeremiah prophesied that the Jews should relax and not think they were coming out soon, they were to spend 70years in captivity.
Jer 25:11-12 KJV 11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldean, and will make it perpetual desolations.
Seventy years was about coming to an end and there was no sign that they will go from Babylonian captivity so Daniel began to seek the face of God.
There are many Christians of our time that think prophecy automatically takes place, most often a time the things of God does not automatically come to pass in a man’s life. you have to cooperate with the prophecy.
Dan 9:2-3 KJV 2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. 3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
As a result of his intercession and in order to fulfil the prophecy of Jeremiah, God moved the heart of the king of Babylon Cyrus. Whenever we pray, God moved into action.
Ezr 1:1-2 KJV 1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Cyrus made a decree that the Jews should go back to their town, build the temple and raised the wall.
In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people moved and started building. a new king came into the office called Aterxerses.
the enemy of the Jews after several attempts to discouraged them and threatened them
Ezr 4:4-5 KJV 4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, 5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
The people later decided to write a strong worded petition against the Jew to Aterzerxes that the Jews were rebellious and if allowed to proceed with the building of the city, the king will suffer loss of revenue, the taxes.
Ezr 4:11-13 KJV 11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king; Thy servants the men on this side the river, and at such a time. 12 Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. 13 Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.
Ezr 4:16 KJV We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river.
They said search should be made in achieves and it was done, they actually found out that they have had great kings and fought great battle. so the king ordered by writing and decree that building should be stopped.
These people who were enemies of the Jews made haste and stopped the building for many years.
Ezr 4:23-24 KJV 23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. 24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
They had begun in the first year of Cyrus, B.C. 536, to go up to Jerusalem, and they were obliged to desist from the building B.C. 522; and thus they continued till the second year of Darius, B.C. 519.
The work of the house of God ceased. it is not a man’s house but God’s house was stopped for 16 good years.
There are many of us Christians that have embarked on some business plan, projects, schooling and suddenly it has stopped. You have made efforts to start but to no avail, you are not alone. The work of the house of God was stopped too.
What did God do to solve the problem? the Bible says the things that happened to them was recorded for our learning.
1Cor 10:6 KJV Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
1Cor 10:11 KJV Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
If we know how a problem was solved then we can apply the same technique and formula to our own situation. There is no problem that anyone of us have now that somebody somewhere in the Bible did not had and solved.
So how did God solved the problem?
In chapter five, Aterxerses was gone, this is the second year of King Darius. God raised prophets. Whenever God wants to help man, He sent men and most often a time He send His people.
Prophets were sent in the darkest hours in Israel. Check the timing of their appearance: Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, etc.
Bible says believe in your God and you will be established, believe His prophet and you shall prosper. Hello ma who is speaking over you or you are trying to live your live independent of spiritual leadership or prophetic.
The whole time which elapsed between the laying of the foundation (Ezr 3:10 ) and the completion was twenty-one years; but scarcely any progress had been made till Haggai began his preaching. The main part of the work was accomplished between the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius (Hag 1:15 ) and the third day of the twelfth month of his sixth year. This was a space of four years and a half.
Then Haggai and Zedechair began to prophesy. the word prophecy was not only speaking or predicting but involves preaching and teaching.
Ezr 5:1 KJV Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.
This they both did in the second year of Darius; the one egan in the sixth month, and the other in the eighth month of the year, Hag 1:1, even “unto them”; or “against them”, as De Dieu; reproving them for their sloth and neglect of building the temple,
This word encouraged the leaders of the jews to summon courage and started building again.
Hitherto, they have abandoned the building too, waiting for convenient time because of so much opposition. Many of us have abandon things for many reasons. But while Haggai and Zedechaiah began prophesying, they rose up.
Ezr 5:2 KJV Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua 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.
i pray for you, you will arise again, you will start again in Jesus name.
Not only did the prophecies of the prophets revived the men but it also did something great. You will see the effect of the word of God spoken over you.
The same set people that stopped the work 16years ago came around again but this time around it was a different scenario they met.
When the enemies of the jews saw them they asked them who authorised them to resume building the answered God?
Ezr 5:3 KJV At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?
But this time around the Bible says the eye of God i.e The peculiar favour, good providence, and protection of God was upon them and they could not hindered them from the continuation of the building.
Ezr 5:5 KJV 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.
“The eye of God” means “the peculiar favour”, peculiar is synonymous with unusual, odd, strange, uncommon, extraordinary favour. This week receive it in Jesus name.
So the enemies wrote to Darius about the Jews again. they inquired from the jews and the jews told the enemies all their history concerning the building. This was forwarded to Darius. They also wrote to the king informing the king that Cyrus had made a decree concerning them and their going back to Jerusalem. Search was done and it was discovered to be true.
Chapter 6: 1-5 tells us about the decree to search, a roll was found where the decree of Cyrus permitting the Jews to go back to Jerusalem was written.
Based on that, Darius in verse 6 made another decree to reverse the order made by his predecessor.
The religious policy of Darius being directly opposed to that of his immediate predecessor, he would naturally reverse his decree with respect to the Jews.
Ezr 6:6-9 KJV 6 Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: 7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place. 8 Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. 9 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail:
King Darius then made a decree that the enemies of the jews, Tatnai and others should stay away from the building, in order word to stop disturbing them
The instruction is intrinsically good.
(1) Do not hinder the work of God.
(2) Do not molest those who are engaged in it.
Not only that, this is greatest joy, king Darius said that revenue that those enemies were using as a factor that it will stop coming if the jews were allowed to build, they used organized and collect revenue for the jews for the building, that is from the kings revenue from beyond the river expenses be given to the builders of God’s house.
(1) Not from the kingdom in general, but from that portion whence the opposition came.
The leaders of the opposition are the very persons required to raise and make these payments. What a retribution!
That also the animal needed for sacrifices should be provided for the temple services.
The jews were favoured, their enemies served them
The people were so favoured that the king pronounced judgement against any one who will try to hinder the work of the house
Civil penalties are for the breach of the royal decree; the vengeance of heaven for “putting their hand” to injure the “house of God”.
Ezr 6:11 KJV Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.
The work that was earlier delayed for 16years now took four and half years and was completed
Ezr 6:14 KJV And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
Under the new covenant, we are the spiritual Israelites, much better than them because our own covenant is established upon better promises.
Rom 2:28-29 KJV 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Gal 3:29 KJV And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
We are well favoured.
What changed the course of events and turn things around?
Prophecy. Prophecy brought the good eye of God, the peculiar and uncommon favour.
We too can prophecy.
1Cor 14:1-2 KJV 1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
1Cor 14:31 KJV For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
When they started prophesying the course of things was changed, barrier and stoppage were removed, and favour released.
How do you activate the favour?
- believe you have been favoured by the finished work of Jesus
- recognize the small favoured received while waiting for the big one. say this is the favour of God
- acknowledged the favour. Phi 1: 6
- Prophesy and declare the favour
You may prophecy that the stoppage is over, the wating period is over, this is my time, this is my season, help has come, the future is here, no more stagnation, i am making progress, i am moving forward, i am unstoppable. i will finish what i have started in the name of Jesus.