Read Ezra 1 -- 2
In Today's Reading:
Cyrus' proclamation to rebuild the Temple; list of the Jews who returned from captivity
About 200 years before the time of Ezra, Isaiah had prophesied that Babylon would be overthrown by a man named Cyrus. The Lord said that this heathen king of Persia would free the Israelites from captivity and have them rebuild Jerusalem and restore the Temple (Isaiah 44:28; 45:13). These prophecies reassured the Israelites that, following the judgment foretold by Jeremiah of 70 years of captivity due to their sins, God would restore them once again to their promised land (Jeremiah 25:11-12).
The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, to make a proclamation that all Jews were free to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. The Lord then led the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the priests, the Levites, and others, to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1,3,5).
On this journey, there was neither a pillar of fire by night nor a cloud by day to guide the way, and no manna fell from heaven as experienced earlier by their ancestors (Numbers 9:15-16,22-23). However, there is not one complaint recorded. This is in sharp contrast to the continual complaints of their ancestors, who had been miraculously released from Egypt (20:24; 27:14; Deuteronomy 1:26,43; 9:23).
When we recognize that our Sovereign Creator controls everything that affects our lives, we can truly enjoy the peace of God regardless of what happens, since we are assured that everything works together for good (Romans 8:28). Trusting in the Lord for protection will remove all fear, depression, and discouragement, as well as faultfinding, anger, and strife. Often God miraculously heals in answers to prayers. However, our loving Lord is sovereign over all that takes place in our lives, including suffering and pain, and He will use whatever happens in our lives to our ultimate advantage. Because of this, we need to encourage others to commit their lives into His hands assured of God's presence (II Corinthians 13:11).
By Sheshbazzar, another name for Zerubbabel, the prince (governor) of Judah (Ezra 1:8). Christ is both the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).
1:6 strengthened their hands = gave them assistance; 2:43 Nethinims = Temple servants; 2:63 Tirshatha = governor.
Pray for the 2003 National Bible Reading Movement · The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by a family that loves Jesus · Government Officials: Rep. Tim Bishop (NY) and Rep. Mark Green (WI) · Country: Denmark (5 million) in northern Europe · Major languages: Danish and Faroese · Religious freedom · 92% Protestant; 1% Muslim; .5% Roman Catholic; .5% cults; .1% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for your daily needs (Matthew 6:11).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 3
NOTE: Bible Pathway covers the Old Testament with devotional and commentary insights over a nine-month period, January through September. Each day during these months, an optional reading of one chapter a day from the New Testament will also be listed. The October, November, and December issues will provide a daily commentary on the New Testament readings. Thus, the reader goes through the New Testament twice each year using the Bible Pathway plan.
Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 2:15