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Ezra and Nehemiah: Ezra 1:2-8

Ezra and Nehemiah: Ezra 1:2-8 

 

2 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
” ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Anyone of his people among you-may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’ ”

5 Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites-everyone whose heart God had moved-prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. 6 All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings. 7 Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god. 8 Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.

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God’s Sprit not only stirred up the spirit of Cyrus to release the Jews, but he also stirred up the houses of Judah, Benjamin, and the priests and Levites to rebuild God’s house. By using Cyrus the Lord showed that he is the Lord of all history.

 

The Lord raised up Cyrus to fulfill what he had prophesied through Isaiah and Jeremiah. Cyrus’ success as a military commander and as a ruler is attributable to the Lord for the sake of his Church. Ultimately, all of history serves the Lord’s purposes. While today we may speculate how the Lord uses history, our perspective is veiled. We cannot be certain why God raises up a certain world leader or allows some disaster to happen. Yet we can be certain that he works all things for our good (Romans 8:28). On one level, the Lord raised up Cyrus to return the people of Israel to Jerusalem so Christ could be born in Bethlehem. The right time (Romans 5:6) occurred during the Roman Empire with its laws, roads, and general peace, which assisted in the proclamation of the Christian message. This also means that now is the right time for the tasks that face the Church today. The Lord is the Lord of all history, who works all things for his purposes.