Bible study Daily, explanation and encouragement - Ezra
The claim that the Lord awakened the spirit of Cyrus simultaneously reminds us of two famous passages (Is 44:28 and 45:1-4,13), where he is mentioned and even referred to as the "anointed of the Lord". There it was predicted that he would free the captives and that he would build a temple in Jerusalem. Flavius Josephus suggests that the divine will was made known to Cyrus through this passage from Isaiah, which some loyal Jews brought to him. Whether this has happened or not, we have a notable prediction here that is a clear fulfillment; and, furthermore, we are reminded that God has a stake in all events in human history. It is He who drives men to good deeds and good thoughts, and nothing bad can happen without his permissive providence. With this passage we can compare verse 5, where we read in a similar language, that those “whose spirit God awoke” accompanied the return.
In a message about the "awakened spirit" based on this passage, we can state that: although we do not know which method or means that Cyrus' spirit awakened, it is clear that:
The figure of the pastor portrays the Lord as a guide, protector and constant companion.
- The Lord took the initiative.
- Whether Ciro knew God personally or not, or understood the implications of his own actions and words, the Lord worked in his heart and mind to make him generous and sincere in his response.
- The results of Cyrus' proclamation and subsequent acts had the specific purpose of making God's plan regarding the return of his people to Jerusalem a reality, and, consequently, the restoration of the temple.
Translating into Christian life and ministry, this suggests that:
- God always takes the initiative in the redemptive process.
- He has the means to make his will clearly known to us.
- Our answer must be sincere and with all our heart (in fact, God is pleased that this occurs).
- Our words and actions, whether or not we are fully aware of their meaning, will be in specific harmony with the purposes of God, and will bring the correct results, proportionally to the extent of our commitment.
God moves in our favor when we focus on Him instead of our fears. The feeling of fear or the fearful thoughts are simply our enemy. Satan trying to distract us from God and His will for our lives. We would do well to follow the Israelites' example in Ezra 3:3 and focus on God, worshiping Him with all our hearts. The Israelites worshiped through burnt offerings, which was a requirement of the old covenant. Under the new covenant, we worship Him by offering everything we have and everything we are for His use and His glory. He no longer wants to sacrifice dead animals; now He wants us to come to Him as "living sacrifices", holy, pleasant and dedicated to Him (see Romans 12:1).
When the land dwellers were rejected, as they naturally must have supposed they would be, they immediately began to hinder the Jews in every way possible. THEY RENT AGAINST THEIR ADVISORS and apparently gave the king of Persia a misleading impression about the Jews. In any case, construction work was interrupted and was not restarted until 15 years later, during Darius' reign.
Many scholars think that the interruption of the Temple's reconstruction work is a simple example of the lack of faith on the part of those who were in charge of the work. They had Cyrus' authorization, God's authority and blessing at the beginning of the enterprise. They, like Nehemiah, should have remained steadfast in their work despite opposition, and God certainly would have made it possible to complete the work, as they had planned. "Such a frustration" once again proved to be effective against those who are involved in the work of God, and led them to take the easy way. Based on Haggai 1:4, it seems that during this period of stagnation the Jews turned to building and decorating their own homes.
There are people who happen the same way as with the Jews. God has already blessed, God opened doors, granted authorization and you were all happy ... but suddenly with the first oppositions, you gave up! You didn't fight ... you didn't use the authority that God gave you! It is already released! God has already given you! You still need to stop being afraid and do your part, or as the Jews will be there for a long time waiting ...
It is your decision...
In verse 22, a sharp distinction is made between those who seek the Lord and those who leave him, and, likewise, between the beneficence (good hand) of God, His strength and His wrath. When observing these contrasts of "human character" and "of divine treatment", we come to two conclusions:
- How solemnly man's destiny is in his own hands, or, more appropriately, in his own choices!
- In this world, (only) the character can be changed.
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. For you have stumbled because of your iniquity!
Prepare what you are going to say and return to the Lord. Ask him: Forgive all my sins and, out of mercy, receive me, so that I may offer you the fruit of my lips.
I will heal their infidelity and love them with all My heart, for My anger has turned away from them.