Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pagan king recognizes God of Israel - film at eleven

I always find it interesting when someone who's not an Israelite, someone without the stories of the patriarchs, of the Exodus, of King David, etc., yet somehow manages to faith in the God of Israel. In Ezra chapter 6, we see an example of this in Darius king of Persia.

Jerusalem was sacked and the temple was destroyed, and now, several decades later, some of the Jews are starting to rebuild it. At this point Israel is under foreign rule, ultimately under Darius king of Persia. (Well, penultimately under Darius king of Persia, but I'm getting ahead of myself.) The governor wrote to Darius, reporting on this temple reconstruction, and the king replied with these orders to the governor and the local officials:
  • Don't interfere with the reconstruction (6.7)
  • Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild the temple (6.7)
  • Pay their expenses from the royal treasure and the revenues of Trans-Euphrates (6.8)
  • Provide offerings: livestock, wheat, salt, etc., for the priests in Jerusalem every day without fail (6.9)
  • Do all this so that the priests can offer sacrifices pleasing to God, and pray for the king and his sons
In other words, this king recognizes the God of Israel as the God of heaven (6.9,10), and as a source of blessings for him and his dynasty.

The lovely Carol was reading this part and was very impressed that the king knew about Jewish worship customs of the day. Perhaps someone went way out on a limb to tell the king about those customs. How much courage did that take?

But the thing that impresses me is that Darius somehow understands as much as he does. He evidently had more faith in, and more knowledge of, God than some of the kings of Judah.

And what this means for me today is that, since everyone (including me) has blind spots, the truth -- even some truth about God himself -- may come from someone outside my own faith. So I need to pay attention, because truth can come from anywhere.

posted 8/13

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