"Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment." (Ezra 7:26).
We have read how Cyrus the Great was moved by God to act boldly and generously on behalf of God's people, who had been held captive for seventy years in Babylon; setting them free, and empowering them with both his royal decree and his supply of resources from the royal treasury, to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple of the Lord.
We can only imagine the wonder that surely must've swept through the liberated community as they marched back to their homeland and began the process of recovery.
But, despite Cyrus' support, these returning Jews were not without opposition. There were many local lords who so hated God's people that they would interfere in any way possible, seeking to prevent them from having any success or happiness in life at all. And that is still going on in the world to this very day.
When news of this opposition reached the ears of Cyrus, he pulled rank on all these puny politicians and roared like a lion with his imperial power. He shot forth a royal decree that left no doubt about the high price of rebellion against his policies. Here is an excerpt of that decree, issued to those who were trying to thwart the work of God:
"Whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, let it be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and of his sons?
"You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.
"And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God, which you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates—all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach any who do not know them. Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment." (Ezra 7:23-26).
I guess we might say, "The big dawg barked, and all the yapping little dogs headed for cover."
We read that four devastating judgements attend those who rebel against the king's decree -- death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment. If this be true of those who oppose earthly powers, then what shall become of those who refuse to honor the Lord of Heaven and Earth?
"Yield now and be at peace with Him; thereby good will come to you. Please receive instruction from His mouth and establish His words in your heart." (Job 22:21-22, NASB). God's Word is tried and true; and the safest, surest, and most secure thing you can do with your life is to anchor it upon this solid rock!
Seek God's face, hear God's Voice, and do God's will. And the big dawg will neither bark nor bite when you come around!