Ezra 4-6 (The Daily Walk Bible).

In Ezra 4 the inhabitants of the land tried to join in the rebuilding of the temple, but they are rebuffed. The ESV Study Bible gives us some insight: “Indeed, these peoples’ ancestors had been taught the religion of Yahweh by a priest sent for that purpose (2 Kings 17:24–28), though the same account tells that they worshiped other gods as well (2 Kings 17:29–41), and they are identified as ‘adversaries’ (Ezra 4:1).” It may initially seem weird that the Israelites refused help, but it was because they didn’t want any idolators to have any part in the building of the temple.

We may sometimes wonder how things can change so quickly politically in our country, but it shouldn’t surprise us. Things can change rapidly every two to four years because new people come into power. The same thing is true in the ancient world. One king comes in and doesn’t realize what had happened before. He listens to whatever advisors or evidence he has, makes a determination, and doesn’t have a computer to look up the decrees that his predecessor made before him! The difference in our country is that the new “king” knows what happened before, but may have been elected precisely because he wants to change it. It’s enough to give you whiplash! The Israelites must have felt the same, but persevered (with a little help from two prophets) and were able to continue the work. We can learn from this: regardless of what comes against us in life, regardless of whatever false accusations are leveled against us, we need to just keep being faithful. And there may be someone around to give us a pep talk every once in awhile!

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