“At the same time Tattenai the governor of the region beyond the River and Shethar-Boznai and their companions came to them and spoke thus to them: ‘Who has commanded you to build this temple and finish this wall?’ Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building.” (Ezra 5:3-4 NKJV)
It was finally happening. The Jews had returned from exile and they began building the Temple. The building attracted the attention of the wrong people. Tattenai heard about it and knew that he hadn’t issued any building permits, so he wasn’t happy. He asked who they were and who told them they could rebuild the Temple and the wall. There’s a thing about some people in authority – they want people to know that they’re in charge. They’ll bluster and threaten anyone who might appear to be a threat. They asked for the names of the people building it. The Jews knew the story, though, and they told this self-important governor who had given them the permission and then gave them the names of everyone working on the building. I can’t help but wonder if a couple of them said something like “Make sure you spell it right.”
It’s been said that in a situation like this, you should never ask a question you don’t know the answer to. When Tattenai, et al, sent their question to King Darius, they had the integrity to give the Jewish response to his question. Tattenai wanted to shut them down. God had other plans and Darius not only set him straight, he commanded Tattenai to pay the bills. (Ezra 6:8ff) We don’t always know how God will provide, but, with faith, we know that He will. The message here is to keep doing what God calls you to do, follow the law – insofar as it’s possible, don’t let authorities intimidate you but be respectful to them, and trust that God will take care of things. Keep putting one brick on top of another as you do God’s will.
Lord, keep me focused on You. Let me follow Your leadership and serve You no matter what opposition I might face and not matter what consequences I might endure. Remind me of the joy in doing Your will.