“May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem. I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence” (Ezra 6.12 NIV).
The building of the temple has been halted for about 14 years (ref 1). King Cyrus who helped the construction to begin is now gone, and his predecessor, King Artaxerxes, does not know the decree that King Cyrus made. The local Samaritans, upset by the rejection of their offer for help, set out to stop the rebuilding of the temple and succeed for a time. The Samaritans’ false niceties and dishonest intentions to help are exposed, and their desire for power and control becomes obvious. Finally, the prophets of God encourage the Jewish people back to their rebuilding efforts, and the Samaritans once again try to stop them. However, King Darius is in control now, and after a little research, he finds the decree made by King Cyrus. King Darius not only encourages the rebuilding, but he demands the Samaritans help pay for it out of their treasury; he gives a warning to anyone who tries to stop it; and he offers a divine blessing over the project. We learn two valuable lessons from this story. First, we must allow time to expose the evil intentions of “well-meaning” people, including ourselves. The human heart is corrupt and very few people realize that they are working of selfish desires for control and power (Jeremiah 17.9). Second, sometimes God’s pauses actually put us on the fast tract to our destiny. After the Isrealites waited a few years, God revitalized their work with much need resources, protection and divine blessing; and the temple work was finally finished.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 24.14 ESV).
(ref 1) – The Preacher’s Homiletic Commentary Volume 6, Book of Ezra page 62