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Bible Pathways - June 1, 2007



Ezra 1 

In Today's Scripture Reading:

Cyrus' proclamation to rebuild the Temple; list of the Jews who returned from captivity

About 200 years before the time of Ezra, Isaiah prophesied that Babylon would be overthrown by a man named Cyrus. The Lord said of this heathen king of Persia: He . . . shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the Temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. . . . and he shall let go My captives (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 the promised land (Jeremiah 25:11-12).

To fulfill that prophecy, the Lord stirred up the spirit (moved the heart) of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation. . . . Who is there among you of all His people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the House of the Lord God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. . . . Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the House of the Lord which is in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1,3,5).

No pillar of fire by night or a cloud by day was provided to guide them, and no manna fell from heaven as experienced by their ancestors (Numbers 9:15-16,22-23), but 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 all things work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28). Believing this should even remove depression or discouragement when faced with the possible death of a precious loved one. Faultfinding, anger, and self pity vanish when we recognize that our loving Lord is sovereign over all that takes place in our lives, including suffering and pain. Everyone needs to read all the facts that God has had recorded in the Bible — the only God-inspired Book: Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of My mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, My speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain . . . upon the grass: Because I will publish the Name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He. . . . O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! . . . See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand. For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. . . . Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful . . . to His people (Deuteronomy 32:1-4,29,39-40,43).

Christ Portrayed:

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 Juda (Revelation 5:5).

Word Studies:

1:6 strengthened their hands =/i> gave them assistance; 2:43 Nethinims =b> Temple servants; 2:63 Tirshatha =b> governor.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for our Military worldwide The Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts for the month of June sponsored by Mary Hoffmeyer; The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of the Bible Pathway Staff Staff: Dr. John A. Hash Government Official [listed on their birthday/s] and the state/s they represent: Rep. Tim Bishop (NY) Country: St. Kitts-Nevis (42,000) in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies Major language: English Religious freedom 74% Protestant; 7% Roman Catholic Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to reveal His will and fill you with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-18).

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: Psalms 18:30

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