Lord, I trust that You have things in hand. I trust that You see the beginning from the end and that Your ways are perfect.
Read Ezra 1
Cyrus Helps the Exiles to Return
1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
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 Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. 4 And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them 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.[a] 8 Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
9 This was the inventory:
gold dishes 30
silver dishes 1,000
silver pans[b] 29
10 gold bowls 30
matching silver bowls 410
other articles 1,000
11 In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along with the exiles when they came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
a Ezra 1:7 Or gods
b Ezra 1:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhat is your favorite Bible promise?
One of the most beloved and misapplied verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11—“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.” We like to claim this as a promise that God will prosper us in our current area of struggle or stress, be it employment, housing or relationships. The immediately preceding verse, however, is a less comforting declaration: exile in Babylon would last for 70 years.
The future and hope spoken about here was a long time coming—beyond the lifetime of many listening. But 70 years is now up, and true to his word, God opens the door to a return home for the exiles. The Babylonian empire has fallen to the Persians and the king of Persia is receptive to God’s voice. God’s plans are good and they do come to pass. We can be confident that our future is assured in the new heavens and new earth because “he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).
God is not afraid to make us wait. What are you waiting for at the moment? How can you live faithfully and gracefully in this time? What truths about God can you hold onto with complete confidence?
Lord Jesus, help me to trust You when times look good and when they look bad. Teach me to hold onto You.