And so, under Ezra, the people returned. They reestablished the priests. They rebuilt the altar and sacrificed on it. And they began to rebuild the temple, but with the foundation laid, the people became discouraged. Also, enemies opposed the building. And the Persian king even issued a decree that the work cease. But God raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people, and Darius instructed his governors, “keep away. Let the work on this house of God alone” (6:7). Furthermore, Darius decreed: “And whatever is needed—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail” (6:9). And by 516 B.C., the temple was completed. Wow! God not only provides the material wherewithal, but also human players, and he turns kings. We need to trust him, always.
Triumphant Lord, thy goodness reigns
Through all the wide celestial plains;
And its full streams redundant flow
Down to th’ abodes of men below.
Through nature’s works its glories shine;
The cares of providence are thine:
And grace erects our ruined frame,
A fairer temple to thy name. -- Philip Doddridge (18th century)