Day 276 October 3
Then the prophet Haggai and the prophet Zechariah, Iddo’s son, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of Israel’s God who was over them. 2 Subsequently, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel’s son, and Jeshua, Jozadak’s son, began to rebuild God’s house in Jerusalem. God’s prophets were with them, helping them.
3 At the same time, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues came to them and spoke to them, asking, “Who authorized you to build this house and finish preparing[a] this building material?”[b] 4 They[c] also asked them, “What are the names of the people who are building this building?” 5 But their God looked after the elders of the Jews, and they didn’t stop them until a report reached Darius and a letter with his response had arrived.
6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and his colleagues the officials who were in the province Beyond the River sent to King Darius. 7 In the message they sent him, the following was written:
To King Darius, all peace! 8 Let the king know that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built with dressed stone and with timber set into the walls. This work makes good progress and prospers in their hands. 9 We asked those elders, “Who authorized you to build this house and to complete the preparation of this material?” 10 We also asked them their names so that we could write down the names of the leaders for your information.
11 This was their reply to us: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed. 12 But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he gave them over into the power of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and deported the people to Babylonia. 13 However, in the first year of his rule, Babylon’s King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God. 14 King Cyrus also took the gold and silver equipment from God’s house out of the temple in Babylon (the ones that Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and placed in the temple in Babylon) and gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor. 15 Cyrus said to him, ‘Take this equipment and go and put it in Jerusalem’s temple, and let God’s house be rebuilt on its original site.’ 16 Then Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of God’s house in Jerusalem. From then until now the rebuilding work has continued but is not yet complete.”
17 And now, if it seems good to the king, may a search be made in the royal archives in Babylon to see if King Cyrus had issued a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then may the king be pleased to send us his decision about this matter.
Comment: in a Bible Trivia quiz I never could have answered who Sheshbazzar was/is, but I could immediately point to the book book of Ezra for the most humble, contrait, honest, and authentic words spoken by Israel: “because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, He gave them over into the power of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar. . . “ The honesty of Ezra’s voice is such a joy and should lead us to easy confession before God.
14 When the Pharisees heard all this, they made fun of Jesus, because they loved money. 15 Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who make yourselves look right in other people’s sight, but God knows your hearts. For the things that are considered of great value by people are worth nothing in God’s sight.
16 “The Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets were in effect up to the time of John the Baptist; since then the Good News about the Kingdom of God is being told, and everyone forces their way in. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest detail of the Law to be done away with.
18 “Any man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery; and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us ? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Prayer: we come near to you, O God, needing you to come near to us so that we might live your way this day.