Ezra 1 and 2
LET IT GLOW
Judah had been captives in Babylon for 70 years. Now in the historical story three groups of Jews return to their homeland, the Promised Land of Israel and Jerusalem. It was after Persia took over the Babylonian Empire and during King Cyrus's first year reign that the LORD stirred up his spirit to declare a proclamation allowing their return. Zerubbabel lead the first group of Jews.
Liberty Bible Commentary has these comments:
Only those whom God had touched responded and answered the call. Returning to Palestine was a step of faith. The land was desolate and occupied with heathen nations. Those who returned would leave the security of Babylon. They were launching out into the unknown, but they went with a vision, to build the house of the LORD. People with a vision can always accomplish the impossible. They can overcome dangers, hostility, and opposition and emerge victorious.
Cyrus did not command the Jews to go up, but granted them permission to go to Jerusalem.
Was it difficult for them to leave the comforts of an affluent society?
McGee says the group that returned was of the poorer class. They were the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, priests, and the Levites. They were humble folk.
These prophecies were fulfilled here: Isaiah 44:28; Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10; Daniel 5:17-30.
I experienced an example of stepping out in faith last week. Six groups of people formed teams out visiting the community, highways, byways, and hedges, including dusty dirt roads, and invited children and youth to come to a Sports Camp on Thursday and Friday nights. Also, we had a Community Block party at the city park. The Lord blessed our efforts with 2 salvations, and over 60 folks attending. The gospel was presented many times during the fun activities. (A sister church lead the activities.) Although it was exhausting, what a shower of blessings! God rewarded our steps of faith.
Is God calling us to take a step of faith?
LET IT GROW
The preparations for returning were made:
- Neighbors assisted by giving them articles of gold and silver, supplies for the journey, livestock.
- King Cyrus brought articles Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem, mentioned in verses 9 and 10.
- There were 5,400 articles of gold and silver.
- The number of returnees was 42,360 Jews with 7,337 servants, and 200 singers.
- Some family leaders made voluntary offerings toward the rebuilding of God's Temple.
- They gave gifts of 61,00 gold coins, 6,250 pounds of silver, and 100 robes for the priests.
- Cyrus gave those protection and money for the rebuilding and returning journey.
In the New Testament is the story of Peter who stepped out of the boat by faith and walked on water toward Jesus. Do we have that much faith in Jesus?
LET IT GO
Trust Jesus as I obey His leading.
Give to Kingdom work.