God's Eyes versus the king's eyes
Week 19: 01/05/2023. Tue
Ezra 5:5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until the report should reach Darius and then an answer be returned by letter concerning it. (ESV)
Due to the huge size of the empire, the Persian king of Ezra's time had informers and spies that assisted their king with "internal security matters" or "public security matters". Therefore, the starting anew of the temple rebuilding (even though stopped for 16 years, Ezra 4:24), did not escape the "eyes" of the king's intelligence department.
The "king's eyes" (Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates, Ezra 5:3) expectedly send a report to the Persian king via a written "internal security report" (Ezra 5:6–17) to query the legitimacy of the rebuilding works.
It is rare that a letter is set out in verbatim in OT texts. But this goes to show the contrasting comparison between "the king's eye" versus "God's eye" (5:5). Because God's eye "was on the elders of the Jews", the temple building restart did not stop.
REFLECTION: We thank God for allowing believers to continue to participate in serving Him. Do not take these opportunities for granted. Cherish them. God's eyes and hands drive so many things behind the scene, so that His work can continue. Give God the glory due His name.