Not only had God moved the heart of Cyrus to allow them to return and rebuild, in his proclaimation he said anyone could go and anyone living in a place where any of the Israelite people lived would provide them with silver and gold, goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem. Wow! Talk about providing! Cyrus didn’t just command the exiles to come up with the necessary funds and goods but anyone living where they lived were to help too. I wonder how that went over in these pagan lands they were living in. I can just hear it now. I don’t think they would have easily funded this venture without much grumbling, complaining.
When I read verses 5 – 11 of Ezra 1 I am so amazed at what God can do! When everyone whose heart God had moved, prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem (vs 5), all their neighbors assisted them with what was needed. Not just some, not just many but all of them. They didn’t just give token gifts either. It says they gave articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, with valuable gifts; in addition they gave freewill offerings. Some of these neighbors were Israelites who wouldn’t go on the trip but I would assume some were not. King Cyrus gave them the articles from the temple that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the temple of his own god. There is even an inventory of those items in verses 9 and 10. God had been keeping track of them for many years and He was making sure they were taken back.
What does this tell me about who God is? God is provider! Our God is able to provide what we need from whatever source He chooses. If that doesn’t make me feel secure in His provision, I don’t know what would. In this tough economy God is able to provide for us and can and will use any means He chooses.
I think it also shows that God keeps track of the details of our lives. If He remembered how many gold dishes and silver bowls were taken from the temple and made sure they were taken back, don’t you think He remembers those things we feel are lost to us? What about our broken dreams? What about relationships that need to be restored? What about family members we love so who are lost? As we leave Ezra chapter 1 let’s take a bit of time laying what we feel may have been lost in our lives at His mighty, magnificent, all knowing, all capable feet and ask Him to bring them back to us. Then let us trust our mighty God enough to rest in peace and continue to live our lives for Him as we wait expectantly for Him to answer our requests to His perfect will.
Today as I think about this holiday weekend coming up to celebrate our nation’s independence, I am praying for the courageous men and women who are serving in our armed forces to keep our country free and safe. May God wrap His loving arms around them and bless them with safety, shelter and peace of mind. May He protect them and guide them and provide all they need. Thank you for laying your lives on the line for all of us! May God Bless and keep you. May His face shine upon you. I love you!