I have been so focused on God’s preparing and provision for them to return and rebuild the temple that I almost missed taking some time to look at what it says about why God did this. Verse 1 “…in order to fulfill the Word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus…” I surely don’t want to miss what is one of the most important things to learn about who God is from this first chapter.
In Jeremiah 29:10-14 God says, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” Declares the LORD, “and I will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Earlier I had said it had been 128 years after the fall of Jerusalem when Ezra 1 took place. That was from a timeline in my Quest Bible. It gave a first return of exiles to Jerusalem 48 years after the fall and the completion of the temple at 70 years. This second return at 128 years was another rebuilding. There would be a third under Nehemiah. At a later date I would like to study the timeline further from God’s Word and see what it says about each of those returning people and what was accomplished by each. For now, I am continuing in our Ezra study.
What I do learn today about God from this scripture is, His Word will be fulfilled and He uses whatever means and whomever He pleases to fulfill it. I love that I have a God that can be counted on to do what He says He can do. I love that when He scatters them for a while and allows the Babylonians to destroy their temple, His dwelling place with them on the earth, that He promised them He would bring them back and His good plan for their lives would be done. What an awesome God we have that has plans for us that are to prosper us and not harm us, to give us hope and a future. He is a God who listens to us when we call upon Him and pray to Him. He is a God who brings us back from captivity and gathers us from places He has had to banish us to because of sin in our lives. He is a God who always brings us back.
So…I can hear you saying, “Those promises aren’t for us! The Old Testament promises were for the nation of Israel!” Remember the purpose of our study is to grow in knowing God. “All Scripture is God–breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” II Timothy 3:16. I believe all of it is showing us who God is and if He had this plan for their lives, I believe He most assuredly has it for mine! I am so very grateful that our study of Ezra allows us to see that God fulfills His Word!!! We can trust that! We can believe that! We can love Him for it! I would like to hear any thoughts you might have on Ezra 1 before we move on to Ezra 2. God bless! May God reveal Himself to you in amazing ways as you read His word!