This Chapter relates an event of great joy to the people of God. Darius commands the building to go on. It is finished. They celebrate the Passover, and make a feast of dedication.
Surely the Lord's hand was in this, for otherwise when the decree of Cyrus was not found in Babylon, what could have prompted the mind of Darius to have had search made for it in another of his provinces, especially as no doubt Tatnai and the enemies of the cause would have been very forward to have prevented it, had not some overruling power led on to the enquiry. How precious is it, dearest Lord, to trace thy steps going before thy church and people everywhere? And indeed must it not be so? Didst thou not sing to thy church, A vineyard of red wine? And didst thou not say, I the Lord do keep it. I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night, and day. Isaiah 27:3. Reader! let us seek grace never to lose sight of this in all the circumstances of the church; and in all our own private trials.
Observe how the hand of the Lord is with this decree. Tatnai and his companions are reproved for opposing God's work. Darius not only commands the temple to be built, but at his own cost and charge. Nay more, he makes allowance for the daily sacrifice; and desires that in this temple prayers and sacrifices may be continually offered for the life of himself and his sons. Yea, as if under the spirit of prophecy, he looks up to God to vindicate his own cause in destroying kings as well as people, whosoever shall put forth an hand to the ruin of the temple. Surely one is led almost to believe, that such a friend to God's cause must be a partaker of God's grace. Was not this another instance of the Jew and Gentile being alike interested in Jesus? Solomon's temple had a Hiram, king of Tyre, to give aid: and here is a Darius, king of Persia, contributing to the second temple. Were not both, blessed Jesus, meant by thee to prefigure the united church of thy glorious redemption, as including both the Jew and the Gentile?
See how the Lord can change the face of things in a moment. The very men that went forth for the ruin of God's cause are made unwilling instruments for the promotion of his glory. And thus, Reader! depend upon it, will even the malice of Satan be made subservient to the greater glory of Jesus and the joy of all his people. Fear not, little flock.
How truly beautiful in their place are God's ministers, when they strengthen the hands that hang down, and confirm the feeble knees.
I think there must have been a space of nearly 20 years from the foundation of the temple to the finishing of it. And in the building up of every individual of Christ's mystical temple, how long sometimes, how frequently interrupted, and in some instances, how apparently given over, as it was here, doth the work seem to many precious souls, in their own ease and in that of others! Oh! precious, precious Jesus! well is it for thy people that both the work and the glory is thine. The spark of grace thou preservest from being extinguished. The incorruptible seed thou keepest from rotting.
How beautiful and truly interesting is it, to discover, more or less, through the Bible, from the first forming of the church on our fathers coming out of Egypt, even to the days of the Lord Jesus, how this great typical feast of the passover was kept and most religiously observed. Surely nothing upon earth can more decidedly prove the vast and infinite importance of the thing signified, when the sign was thus preserved with such solemnity of holiness from generation to generation. Think, Reader, I charge you, how vast, how infinitely momentous must be the passover of Jesus's blood, when through so many ages the shadow of it was thus religiously observed with the most scrupulous exactness. Oh! Sir! how shall we escape, how shall any man escape, who wilfully neglects so great salvation? Hebrews 2:3.
AT length we have seen, after many years expectation to the people, and much opposition from their enemies, the temple built and dedicated; and once more the church enjoying unmolested the privilege of her ordinances. But while we bless God for thus watching over his people for good, and in his own good time doing good to Zion; let us look to him whom that temple, and whom every ordinance, points to, and in whom all have their meaning and completion. Yes! precious Jesus! I would desire grace to look unto thee; for on thee all the eyes of saints and angels are unceasingly fixed with delight. And well may a poor sinner therefore look with delight on thee, since but for thee, and thy great salvation, he must have been looking up in the misery of the damned forevermore. Help me, then, thou precious Lord, to contemplate thy beauties, thy glories, thy loveliness, in thyself; thy loveliness and suitableness to thy people. Surely thou art the Lord our righteousness. Thou art indeed the temple, the altar, the sacrifice, the High Priest, the offering, the Lamb of God, and the all-sufficient propitiation; the advocate, the intercessor of thy people. Angels are gazing on thee, thou peerless beauty! the spirits of just men made perfect have their eyes fixed on thee. Every redeemed soul now in glory among the ransomed in the Zion which is above, is looking on thee with love, with rapture, with unspeakable, undescribable delight! Lord Jesus! make me one of the blessed multitude, and keep my heart, my soul, mine eyes, forever and forever gazing on thee. And while on earth my poor feeble frame is on the stretch to see thee in everything, to bless thee for every mercy, and to enjoy thee in all; oh! let me live near thee, and to thee, and with thee, day by day in a life of faith, until at thy second coming faith shall be swallowed in sight, and my soul sit down at the fountain head of everlasting enjoyment, in the presence of God and the Lamb forevermore, Amen. Hallelujah.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezra 6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent