Hey guys! Today we dive into Ezra chapter one.
You can read the chapter right here
So let’s discuss.
One of the things I find most exciting about this chapter is that this very moment was prophesized decades earlier.
In Jeremiah 25:12 and 29:10 we learn there would be 70 years of captivity in Babylon, but God would bring his people home again.
Guess what? It happened.
Remember Sunday school class when you learned about Daniel and the lions den, or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego?
Yeah- all things that happened during this 70 year period, as well as many others.
I should also mention when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded, and took the Israelites captive, God’s temple was completely plundered.
When those 70 years came to a close, like straight clockwork and in accordance with prophecy, the Israelites were free to go.
Not only that, but chapter one tells us God made great provisions for them. He didn’t send them home empty handed. King Cyrus decreed they should go home with plenty of goods.
Is this real life?
I’m not a history scholar, but I’m willing to bet there aren’t too many times in the ancient world a king happily sent off part of his workforce to go home and restore a temple to a God he didn’t worship, and decreed they should be sent with “silver and gold, supplies for the journey, livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.”
That’s our God.
Our spectacular God.
In what universe does this happen? Talk about a beautiful miracle unfolding before our eyes.
So let’s dig a little deeper.
Here are some things we can take away from today’s passage.
God does what he says he’s going to do. He’s a promise keeper and always on time.
It wasn’t the 71st year, and it wasn’t the 35th year. The Israelites could return home during the 70th year, just as God said would happen.
Sometimes it feels like we have to wait on things way too long, but The Lord is not slack in keeping his promises. He is faithful to do what he says he will do.
We may feel like we are in a situation with no hope, but know God is a rescuer for us, and will always come through.
God intervenes on our behalf.
Do you think Cyrus woke one day and simply decided to let the Israelites go?
Not likely. Verse one says God “stirred the heart of Cyrus.”
God made a way in an unlikely place with an unlikely person.
His ways are higher than ours.
Don’t be surprised if He wows you and makes a stream in a desert. Be obedient to what He asks, and he’ll make a way.
When he makes a way, he makes provisions.
God equips us with the tools we need to accomplish whatever he asks. He could have sent the Israelites home “as is,” but our God is such a good God and does more than we can ever ask.
He didn’t just set them free, he sent them home with an abundance of resources.
If God moves your heart to do something, he’s not going to leave you empty handed. He will give you the love, grace, patience, and whatever else you need to get the job done.
The Bible tells us God works in us to give us the desire and power to do what pleases Him. It’s not something we have to figure out. He equips us perfectly and abundantly.
We can be set free from captivity.
This is the biggest of all. He will free us from captivity.
I have been held captive- of my own choosing. I was a slave to sin and so far from God. Yet, when I called out to Him and turned from my waywardness, he set me free and brought me home.
He lavished his love on me and made his child.
Just like he called the Israelites home, he calls us too. Choose to turn to Him today and let him lavish you with his love and grace.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe all we can glean from a single chapter in the Bible!
I pray this first week brought encouragement and truth to your heart. Is there anything that spoke to you in this passage? Id love to hear it.