Ezra 5-6 “Get to work!”


We have seen in our study of Ezra how God moved on the heart of Persian King – Cyrus – to commission the pp of Israel to return & rebuild

A)Fulfilling a Prophecy spoken by Isaiah 170yrs before Cyrus was even born


B)Almost 50,000 answered the call – 900 mile Journey 4 months – city & temple in ruins


C) No sooner do they begin – opposition starts

1)Pastor Chuck Smith “The greater the work the greater the opposition.”

2)Any real work of God – there will be opposition not all smooth sailings


D)Starts with a group of Samaritans – who try to infiltrate - / discourage

1)Eventually they write a letter to King Artexexes


E)This is a rebellious pp – they have a history of rebellion – if you let them do this – be sorry

1)Art basically sends word – back – tell them to stop building until I can investigate this further


F)So the construction stopped – things stayed that way for 15yrs


That is where we pick up the Story in Ch. 5

Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them.

A)When you read the minor prophets (Not minor because they were lightweights, they were big league hitters, but because they are short books)


B)Haggai & Zechariah were two who were ministering at this time.


C) Haggai’s prophecy was a more direct encouragement to get busy on the work of building the temple; 1)Zechariah’s prophecy was more directed to the spiritual condition of the returned exiles.


D)If all we had was Haggai to go by, we might conclude that all God was really interested in was the temple. 1)Zechariah gives the rest of the story, and shows how God is interested in lives, not only buildings.


E)The two always go together – the building houses the Church – the pp

1)Being built up to reach a lost world


Haggai is the first to Preach – first prophet in 70yrs since Jeremiah. His message was simple

A) "Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: 'This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built."'"


B)The pp were procrastinating on getting back to work on God’s house – not time yet –

1)Year by year went by.


3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?"


C)You have put all your time & money into fixing up your own houses – God’s temple is in ruins

1)Caught up in simply trying to take care of yourselves your needs / pleasures 


5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts:” Consider your ways!


6 "You have sown much, and bring in little;

You eat, but do not have enough;

You drink, but you are not filled with drink;

You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;

And he who earns wages,

Earns wages to put into a bag with holes."


D)Problem is you are not filled or fulfilled

Not doing what God has called you to do

1)Never going to be satisfied until you are doing what God called you to do!



They should have felt no rest until the work of God was as prosperous as their personal lives,

A)They should have  been as willing to sacrifice for work of God as they were for their personal comfort and luxury.


B)Time to get busy Hag 1:7-8


7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD.


C)They respond: 2 So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.


D)I like this – the prophets were not in their ivory towers or their personal studies – they were willing to get their hands dirty – work


E)Not all about preaching!

1)So the work began again after 15yr no action


3 At the same time Tattenai the governor of the region beyond the River and Shethar-Boznai and their companions came to them and spoke thus to them: “Who has commanded you to build this temple and finish this wall?"


Tattenai the governor of the region beyond the River:

A)This was the man appointed by the King of Persia to govern the province that included Judea.


B)He and his companions wanted to know why the work of building both the temple and the wall had resumed.


C)Tattenai seems much more reasonable that the Samaritans who opposed the work some 15 years previous to this.


D)More of a civil servant – worried about the Kingdom – who gave you permission


4 Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building.

5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius. Then a written answer was returned concerning this matter.


This was going to buy them some more time!

A)Take a while for a courier to get the message to Darius


B)Darius came to the throne in a time of conflict and struggle.

1)Therefore the Jews in Jerusalem started their work “without receiving any permission from him,

    WENT FOR IT – forgiveness / permission

C)They did this when he was far too busy fighting for his throne to attend to the troubles of a small, distant city.”


D)Love that phrase in v.5 God’s eye was upon them

1)God was watching over this whole thing


E)From the natural perspective – this looked like a political matter – who gave permission….

1)Who’s authority ?   But there was a supernatural God who was looking out for his pp.


2)God was working behind the scenes as we shall see – moving on King Darius’ heart


V.6-17 give us the contents of the Letter Tattenai sent to Darius – Read



Now I am sure these guys were convinced that there was no such record of a decree.


They probably even looked to make sure there was no such decree. They felt CONFIDENT in their accusation.


But a decree from a Persian king could not be altered or changed. -




There was NO record in Babylon, but 300 miles NE of Babylon Cyrus had a summer Palace in Ach/Metha

A)So Darius makes a search and eventually finds the decree of Cyrus in the government archives.


B)Darius is going to respect that decree.


C)He sends back a ruling that not only should the work go on, but also it ought to be supported by government funds.


D)Result:  the temple was completed on March 12, 515 B.C. The Lord’s people gathered to celebrate the dedication of this temple with joy (6:16).


This was followed by a celebration of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread “with joy.” Ezra explains the source of that joy: V.22 for the LORD made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.


God Made them Joyful


God’s aim is to give us great joy in Him and His sovereign ways.


C. S. Lewis said, “The ultimate purpose of God in all his work is to increase joy”



Joy and gladness in the Lord are major themes in the Bible.

Moses told Israel that they should seek the Lord at the place He would choose, and that there they shall “rejoice in all [their] undertakings in which the Lord [their] God has blessed [them]” (Deut. 12:5, 7).


Later he warned them, “Because you did not serve

the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, … therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you” (Deut.28:47-48).


The Psalms are full of joy and gladness.



God is the psalmist’s “exceeding joy” (Ps. 43:4). We are commanded, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing” (Ps. 100:1-2).


“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are up-right in heart”

(Ps. 32:11).


“In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Ps. 16:11).



Jesus told the disciples to “rejoice that [their] names are recorded in heaven.” (Luke 10:20-21).


He told the disciples that He had spoken to them so that His joy may be in them, and that their joy may be made full (John 15:11).


He promised that on judgment day, those who serve Him faithfully will be told, “Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21).


The apostle Paul commands us, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4).


He listed joy as the second fruit that the Spirit

produces in believers (Gal. 5:22).


The apostle Peter reported how those who believe in Jesus “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).


John’s Revelation (19:6-7) pictures the saints rejoicing throughout eternity: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Rev 19:6-7


He made them Joyful

Note 3 reasons for their Joy / God desires that we experience.

Our text unfolds 3 aspects of the joy that God wants us to have as His people:


1.)God wants us to know the joy of His providential care for  us


God uses King Darius to provide for the people of God to finish the work.    RD V.6


V.6 Stay away Here is your answer – stay away!

This often happens – Ministry the Lord’s work there is heavy opposition suddenly there is a break thru


It is like the Lord –holds back the hand of the enemy

                             RD V.7-10


Darius issues a new decree – adds to the old one

A)We are going to use tax money to do this AND whatever they need to worship – YOU supply them


God supplied for the work & the worship


B) Amazing take tax money and give it to God’s pp to do God’s work! GET IT DONE


C)Have to wonder what is happening in the heart of old Darius – God was obviously doing something



11-12  Protection

11 Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this.

Historians tell us this Darius had 3,000 Babylonians impaled on trees for disobeying one of his decrees

A)I am sure when Tattenai and his gang heard this they were like yes sir.


B)Then as if to say: And If I can’t catch them or deal with them – Darius adds


12 And may the God who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this house of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently.


C)So if Tattenai and his gang were hoping to come against the Israelites their plan back fired in a major way.


Recap –God sends his prophets to stir up the Pp – to get them to work – Get back on focus

A)1 Corinthians The Prophets speak words of edification – build up stir up


B)The minute that the pp respond to the word of the Lord – God begins to work


C)Yes there is opposition – but His will and plan are greater than the opposition!


D)It was discovered a decree was made – a scroll was found in this remote place

Spiritual Principle:

A)The enemy ACCUSES and CONDEMNS and he wants to STALL what God is doing IN and THROUGH your life.


B)But tucked away in a far away palace is a scroll, called the Lambs Book of Life.


C)On that scroll, is your name (if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ).

1)IF your name is written there, THEN all of your sins are ERASED by the blood of Jesus Christ.


D)The enemy can NOT get to that scroll. He can NOT tamper with it or destroy it.



Have comment on v.10 Their sacrifices were a sweet aroma to the Lord!

A)Great truth for us – the Bible talks about the Sacrifice of our lives – Rom 12


B)Sacrifice of Praise

1)Sacrifice of our Giving


C) Sacrifice of our time / talents / labor


D)All are a Sweet aroma to the Lord when done with a right heart!


2. God wants us to know the joy of productivity in our service for Him.  RD V.13-18


So there was a great time of Sacrifice and Joy because the temple was finished – worship was happening .

A)Sacrificed 100 Bulls / 200 rams / 400 sheep


B)Now it was during this time that Haggai uttered another interesting prophecy


Haggai 2:1-9


In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying: 2 "Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: 3'Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?


Those who were there who saw  Solomon’s temple and remembered what they dedicated

20,000 bulls / 120,000 sheep – this was nothing


This temple was smaller and much more simple



4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,' says the LORD; 'and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,' says the LORD, 'and work; for I am with you,' says the LORD of hosts. 5'According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!'


6 "For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,' says the LORD of hosts.


This temple is the temple that was in place when Jesus lived – Herod added to it. Mainly the court yard areas – but the temple itself was essentially the same.


The day Christ died – the earth shook – the veil was rent in two – Glory of God filled that place


9'The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,' says the LORD of hosts. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the LORD of hosts."


Amazing declaration: this building that was nothing in comparison to the first – shall have a greater glory because of the purpose it would fulfill at the time of Christ death –



Declaration – welcome sinner come / Access

Access fellowship is now available.


1.)God wants us to know the joy of His providential care for  us


2. God wants us to know the joy of productivity in our service for Him.  RD V.13-18


3. God wants us to know the joy of purity and obedience to Him.   RD V.19-22


So often pp think of Purity and obedience in a negative way. 

A)Nothing is further from the truth –


B)Joy of a clear conscience


C)Joy of confidence that God is with you.


D)Joy in knowing – right before Him


The LORD made them joyful:


 “So ends the first stage, a generation long, of Israel’s rehabilitation. It has opened when the Lord ‘stirred up the spirit of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1),


and it concluded with His turning the heart of one of that king’s most powerful successors.”