Letter From God 23
Rebuilding Jerusalem and Queen Esther's Courage
WRITING "LETTER FROM GOD" 23
There are many exciting events in Book 23. We see God’s
plan unfolding to line the right people in the right place for — His plan. God
did not want to punish Israel, but God knew this would humble them and bring
his people back to Him.
The book opens with the Jews held captive in Persia.
Cyrus was the King-Ruler of the huge Persian Expire. The Jew Daniel was one of
the three rulers under Cyrus. Perhaps Daniel showed the king the Isaiah scroll
written 150 years before, which predicted Cyrus would decree that the Jews
could return to their land.
Under the leadership of Governor Zerubbabel and the
High Priest Joshua, 50,000 Jews returned in 538 B.C. The Samaritans who were
living in the land thought the land belonged to them and had the rebuilding of
the Temple stopped in 530 B.C.
16 years later the LORD sent his prophet Haggai to
encourage the people. The Jews turned to the LORD and began building the Temple
again. The LORD also sent His prophet Zechariah who received eight visions from
the LORD’s angel in one night. The Temple was completed in 516 B.C. The LORD’s
Passover was again held in Judah 515 B.C.
In the book of Esther we see Satan working hard to destroy
the Jews. At one point the Jews were to be completely wiped out in all the
provinces of Persia. God used the faith of Queen Esther and Mordecai to save the
The LORD’s prophet Ezra had a desire to go to
Jerusalem to teach God’s people about God and how the LORD wanted them to live.
King Artazerzes was kind. He not only permitted Ezra to go, but also any Jew that
wanted to go with him. The king wanted to honor the God of heaven and gave Ezra
huge amounts of gold and silver. Ezra’s group was small — 2,000.
Ezra encountered a big problem in Jerusalem. After
taking care of the problem, Ezra helped reform the Temple service. He gave hope
to the Jewish people in their land, especially the faith remnant.
When Nehemiah, the personal cupbearer to King
Artazerses, heard the wall of Jerusalem had not been repaired, he was very sad
and decided he should go to help with the repairs. In just fifty-two days of
work, the walls of Jerusalem were finished in 444 B.C. It was special to see
the dedication of Jerusalem’s wall.
Before the 400 years of God’s silence, we see the
final warning from the LORD’s prophet Malachi. The last verses of the Old
Testament are filled with hope.