Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Ray of Hope

O. T. #1,007  "A Ray of Hope"
June 20, 2017
2 Chronicles 36-Part 5
To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate and she kept Sabbath, to fulfill three score and ten years.


Have you seen lately a beautiful sunset in which clouds hide the bright sun, allowing the rays to shine through? What a gorgeous sight! Anyone need a ray of hope? For sure! Our God always comes through for us friends. Oh, it may not be in the way we expect or in the time we wish, but He is faithful. That is one thing we can know for certain.
Judah had a ray of hope after 70 years of captivity, of servant hood away from their homeland. Join me as we find out the source through whom this ray shone.

Judah's people remained in captivity of the Babylonians until the land was compensated for the years (dating from the beginning of the monarchy) when the sabbatical years had not been observed as the Law said.
Leviticus 25 and 26 allowed Israel to sow the fields and prune their vineyard, and gather their fruit for 6 years. Then they were to allow the land to rest, by not planting and harvesting it. However, their greed caused them to disobey the Law. For 490 years this was done, so they thought they got away with it. but not so-God rested the land 70 years, which was one year out of 7 required.

Galatians 6:7 tells us, Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Ezra, the author of this book, passed over those 70 years of exile for Judah in his writings. The people were out of the land and out of God's will.
God's clock is not spelled B-U-L-O-V-A  or G-R-U-E-N; it is spelled I-S-R-A-E-L, and it only runs while Israel is in the land. (McGee)
The clock of judgment began in 605 B.C. until the first deportation in 536 B.C. when the first group of Jews returned to Jerusalem and started to rebuild the Temple, found in Ezra 3:8.  (MacArthur)

Throughout this book, we read of 5 periods of revival, renewal, and reformation in Judah. Within each period, Judah returned to worship God and His sacrificial system, in obedience to the Word of God, which lead to repentance and temporary reformation of the nation: Kings Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah. (Sadly the other 15 kings did not do so.)


As we read the conclusion of Second Chronicles, we find a bright hope, with a ray of hope for the future of Judah.
King Cyrus of Persia made this proclamation for the Jews in captivity after the Temple:
  • This was the Word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.
  • So the Lord put His hand upon Cyrus for this proclamation.
  • It said: The LORD , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build Him a temple at Jerusalem in Judah. Whoever among you of His people may go up, and may the LORD his God be with him.
The next book which we will study is called Ezra, entitled by its author, who is the same one for the books of Chronicles. In it he tells the story of this proclamation and the return of the exiles of Judah.

The nation of Judah was stripped off its foundation-kings were gone, the Temple was destroyed, and the people were removed from their Promised Land. God is a firmer foundation, however. When everything in life is stripped away from us, we too still have God-His Word, His presences, and His promises. (Life Application Study Bible)

How gracious God is! We will be reading of the lamenting and broken heart of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the trouble Daniel and the remnant encountered while captives in Babylon. Let us not forget that God is sovereignly in control and faithful to His children.

If God is with me, whom then shall I fear? The song goes.

                              ... and remain faithful to God.
                               ... of my focus on surrounding circumstances and focus on God.
                               ... and ask Him for a ray of hope, letting go of my dreams.
                               ... as I allow God's ray of hope to shine through me.

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