The Book of Ezra Chapter 4, Opposition by The Elamites

beemanlee's picture

Most of this Chapter will cover the opposition who see this new threat of power which The Jews seem to have as they work on the restoration of The Temple with Cyrus,Xerxes and Artaxerxes. Work comes to a stop until the Second year of reign of Darius, King of Persia.

Names like Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabbl, Rehum, Shimshai, The Elamites, those whom Osnappaar deported to Sumaria are now causing a slow down in Jerusalem with the restoration of The Temple.

a fine line

I have trouble with this part, too. Every time I read about these folks turning down the request to help from the Samaritans, I feel a little sad, and a little irritated. My mind immediately jumps to the woman at the well that Jesus talks to--"Where is the true temple?" she asks, and her question reveals the pain of the Samaritan community, stranded in the land so familiar to those caught between two cultures, belonging fully to neither. Jesus went on to demonstrate that the house of God was not in Jerusalem after all, but around his own person.

This exclusive attitude ultimately seems, to me, to be the cause of Israel's downfall, as resistance to outside cultural, political, and spiritual influence hardened and crystallized. The temple in Jerusalem became a symbol of Jewish purity and patriotism, and it was this very temple Jesus condemned as a hideout for rebels (or as the KJV puts it, a den of thieves; guess the KJV translators didn't have access to Josephus...) resisting not only Caesar, but God Who stood behind him.

Sometimes, God puts others in our path to reveal to us our true course. I get enormously frustrated when I set out to do one thing and discover that my quest does not meet the needs of those around me. Often I am forced to abandon what I set out to do, in order to salvage the greater good--Jesus didn't want to go to the cross, and die to himself, in order to serve the greater community, but he did, and his command for us to follow him is specifically that. Often, charged with purpose, plans, and agendas, we discover along the way that we must redirect our focus to accomplish a more important end. As Jesus retreated to Tyre and Sidon when the Pharisees took great offense, so too must we sometimes pause and reorient ourselves as a bigger picture becomes clear. And as Jesus realized, casting out a demon from the daughter of a Syro-Phonecian woman, we are sometimes called not to serve our own purposes, to see our own desires accomplished, but instead we are called to let those dreams die in favor of a larger blessing. This can happen on scales both large and great, and it is usually pretty painful or difficult, but sometimes the rewards are immense.

Isaiah 49:1-7 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

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