SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- To set the context, in case you're just joining our weekend reading plan (or just forget where we're at)... Back at this time the Jews were the people who were committed to worshipping and living for God. But the Jews hadn't lived out their commitment, which resulted in another country (Babylon) coming in, destroying God's temple, and taking the Jews into captivity. Finally, years later, the Jews were permitted to go back home to their own country and set about rebuilding the temple, where they would worship God. Some neighboring countries didn't like that the Jews were rebuilding, so they sent a letter to the king of Babylon (Darius) in hopes they could stop the Jews.
- King Darius orders a search of the public records, and a memo is found (verse 3 and following) granting the Jews permission to rebuild the temple.
- Finding the memo allows the Jews to continue work and to finally finish the temple (verses 13-18).
- Now that they are back in their home land and have their temple rebuilt, the Jews again begin celebrating God and what He had done for them in the past, specifically the Passover (verse 19 and following) in which the Jews remembered how God had saved their first-born sons when they were slaves in Egypt.
- In chapter 5 we saw the Jews wanting to rebuild the temple, but facing opposition and feeling discouraged. They may have wondered why, when they were trying to do something for God, He seemed to be ignoring them and not coming to their aid. But in chapter 5 we read, "But because their God was watching over them, the leaders of the Jews were not prevented from building" (verse 5). They may have felt God was ignoring them, but He was watching and was actively involved in their situation. Then a letter was sent to King Darius to try and stop them, but they weren't stopped because of the discovery of a lost memo in a pagan library.
- We can be confident that no matter how things look, God is watching over us, and is still in charge. The Bible assures us, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Is there an area of your life where you feel like God is absent and not paying attention? Be assured that He is, and that if you're committed to loving Him and His purposes for you, He will work everything together for good. Why don't you pray about that right now?