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Seventh-Day Adventist Devotional For Children: “A Royal Ally”

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*DAILY BREAD- A DEVOTIONAL FOR THE CHILDREN*

EASTERN NIGERIA UNION CONFERENCE CHILDREN’S MINISTRIES

*THEME: I WILL GO*

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 2022

*TOPIC: A ROYAL ALLY*

“ _Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God.” (Ezra 6:7)_

As suggested in the letter he had received from Tattenai and the other Trans-Euphrates officials, Darius, the Persian king, makes a search of the archives stored in the treasury of Babylon to see if his predecessor, Cyrus, had made a decree relating to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Sure enough, a scroll is found containing a memo detailing everything that Cyrus had commanded, just as the Jews in Jerusalem had said (Ezra 6:1-5).
Darius doesn’t delay: he immediately issues a decree confirming the earlier one of Cyrus. He demands that the Trans-Euphrates officials “stay away” and “not interfere with the work on this temple of God” (vs. 6, 7). On the contrary, they are to ensure that all that is needed for its completion and proper function be supplied out of the royal treasury from revenues collected in the region (v. 8). Expenses for the building project and provisions for daily worship at the temple were to be supplied without fail (v. 9). This was to happen in order, on the one hand, that “the work will not stop” (v. 8), and on the other, that the Jews might “offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons” (v. 10).
To cap things off, the king announces severe penalties against anyone who might change his edict or do anything to destroy the temple. Such a person is to be impaled on a beam from his own house, and his house reduced to “a pile of rubble” (v. 11). Darius goes so far as to invoke the intervention of God himself to ensure that no king or people in the future would “lift a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple” (v. 12).
Here we see a remarkable instance of an earthly monarch supporting the purposes of God and the work of his people. While the spheres of the state and church activities are distinct and not to be confused, they were nevertheless supposed to work harmoniously together, the state ensuring the freedom and protection of the church in particular. Darius here provides an illustration of what they considered to be the respective roles of the two.
Jesus acknowledged the rights of “Caesar” (Matthew 22:21), and his apostles insisted on proper respect for civil authorities (Romans 13:5; 1 Peter 2:13, 14). If we are to be his true followers today, we must resist antagonistic and cynical attitudes towards our political leaders and processes, and pray that our parliamentarians might honour and fear God (as Darius evidently did), and better serve the purposes for which He instituted them (1 Timothy 2:2).

*Thoughts for Reflection*
• Do you think the state has any role regarding the church today?
• What is your attitude toward your political leaders?

*Song*
The church’s one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation
by water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

*Prayer*
Dear Lord, help me in my little corner never to be an hindrance to your work but always to be an ally in doing your will and bidding in Jesus name, amen.

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