…a scroll was found and there was written in it as follows: “Memorandum— 3 In the first year of King Cyrus, Cyrus the king issued a decree: ‘Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the temple, the place where sacrifices are offered, be rebuilt and let its foundations be retained…'” (6:2-3).
Oh, the governor and his officials thought they had these servants of God right where they wanted them. So smug in their confidence, convinced they had the upper hand as they laid out their case to King Darius.
This is the copy of the letter which Tattenai, the governor of the province beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and his colleagues the officials, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king. 7 They sent a report to him in which it was written thus: “To Darius the king, all peace. 8 Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is being built with huge stones, and beams are being laid in the walls; and this work is going on with great care and is succeeding in their hands, (Ezra 5:6-8).
And in their most authoritative posture, they took names.
‘Who issued you a decree to rebuild this temple and to finish this structure?’ 10 We also asked them their names so as to inform you, and that we might write down the names of the men who were at their head, (Ezra 5:9-10).
I can’t help but imagine this entire ordeal was more than unnerving; a further reason for the exiles to fear the peoples of the land.
So they set up the altar on its foundation, for they were terrified because of the peoples of the lands; (Ezra 3:3).
However, amidst this trepidation, they were constantly being encouraged by the Word of God.
When the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them, 2 then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild… (Ezra 5:1-2).
But Tattenai and his colleagues cared nothing for the Word of God and were surely expecting to enjoy the last laugh with the demise of the building project.
But then it was found. His Memorandum …and More.
Consider His Memorandum … and More
Memorandum: “a written message in business or diplomacy; a note or record made for future use; a document recording the terms of a contract or other legal details.”
His Memorandum was recorded and preserved through the decree of Cyrus, whose spirit had been stirred up by the Lord.
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying: (Ezra 1:1).
…a scroll was found and there was written in it as follows: “Memorandum— (6:2).
Every bit of the decree of Cyrus, stirred up and inspired by Almighty God, was saved.
‘Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the temple, the place where sacrifices are offered, be rebuilt and let its foundations be retained, its height being 60 cubits and its width 60 cubits; 4 with three layers of huge stones and one layer of timbers. And let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. 5 Also let the gold and silver utensils of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be returned and brought to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; and you shall put them in the house of God.’ (6:3-5).
And every bit of the decree of Cyrus, stirred up and inspired by Almighty God, was validated and enforced by Darius.
“Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai and your colleagues, the officials of the provinces beyond the River, keep away from there. 7 Leave this work on the house of God alone; (6:6-7).
But Darius did not stop there. There was More. So much More.
The voice of the accusers was stopped, and now the work would continue with their support.
I issue a decree concerning what you are to do for these elders of Judah in the rebuilding of this house of God: (6:8).
- The full cost would be paid …and More. Without delay.
- the full cost is to be paid to these people from the royal treasury out of the taxes of the provinces beyond the River, and that without delay, (6:8).
- Whatever was needed for their offerings would be provided …and More: Without fail.
- Whatever is needed, both young bulls, rams, and lambs for a burnt offering to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and anointing oil, as the priests in Jerusalem request, it is to be given to them daily without fail, (6:9).
- Acceptable sacrifices would be offered …and More: Prayer to the God of Heaven would be encouraged.
- that they may offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons, (6:10).
- The command to secure the work was issued …and More: Ensured by the king’s edict.
- And I issued a decree that any man who violates this edict, a timber shall be drawn from his house and he shall be impaled on it and his house shall be made a refuse heap on account of this, (6:11).
- Allegiance to God was declared …and More: In total commitment to His reign.
- May the God who has caused His name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who attempts to change it, so as to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem… (6:12).
- The decree, personally ratified by the king, was to be obeyed …and More: With all diligence.
- “I, Darius, have issued this decree, let it be carried out with all diligence!” (6:12).
How do we respond to His Memorandum …and More?
Let us begin by spending much time in His Word … and More.
And the elders of the Jews were successful in building through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they finished building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia, (6:14).
Because of the Word of the Lord brought by His prophets, Haggai and Zechariah to the returnees, the workers successfully completed their building.
And lest we try to convince ourselves that we might be more successful if only we had a prophet speaking the Word of God in our hearing; remember, we have His Memorandum, His written message for our future use, recording the terms of His Covenant in His Word …and More. We have His Holy Spirit.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you… 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you, (John 14:16-17, 26).
We have all we need for success in this life, if we will just obey and believe.
Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success, (Joshua 1:7-8).
If we will, by faith, commit to obedience and dependence on His Word, we will have His success and prosperity …and More!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen, (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV).
In truth, we cannot even ask or dream big enough, regarding all He has for us. But as we meditate on His Word day and night, we can be certain of this: His Word will never become old or stale, for His Word is living and active.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart, (Hebrews 4:12).
And each new day, as He reveals the secret places of our hearts, He will reveal secrets of His own heart that will be ours to treasure forever. Things we can’t even begin to imagine…and More!
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law, (Deuteronomy 29:29).
but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him,” (1 Corinthians 2:9).