Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ezra 1-3: The Return

From Garden to City reading:  Ezra 1-3

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.  Jeremiah 29:11

Seventy years in Babylon.
It's a long time.

And then one day, God spoke to Cyrus, the king of Persia, and told him to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
Can you imagine?

It would be like all the Palestinian and Arab leaders one day waking up and saying, "Let's abandon the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem so that the Jews can rebuild their temple and God can be glorified.  And let's give them money to do it."

Yeah.  Like that.
And yet, God moved the heart of Cyrus to do just that.  Plus, he let any Jews that wanted to go, return to Jerusalem to be part of the rebuilding process.  And he took all the sacred objects belonging to the temple out of his treasury so they could be returned.

God can do anything to fulfill his purposes.  Anything.
In this case, it took seventy years.
I would have given up hope.

I probably wouldn't have thought God had reneged on his promises.  More likely I would have assumed that I had misunderstood his promises.

Either way, I struggle with faith, with believing God will come through when it's been a long time.  And so today I'm thinking about God's faithfulness in the Old Testament, in Ezra, in Daniel, in the stories of Samuel and David . . .

And I'm thinking of God's faithfulness in my own life over the years.
And wondering about unfulfilled promises in my own life.  It hasn't been seventy years yet.

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