Ezra 1:1-4 – Prophecy Fulfilled

hands cupping the sun on the horizon with sunset

Read Ezra 1:1-4

It had been seventy years, and now we see how God kept the promise he had given in Jeremiah’s prophecy. The time of captivity in Babylon was coming to an end. The new ruler, Cyrus, had been prompted by God to allow the exiles to return to their homeland. What a proclamation this is!

The Book of Ezra chronicles this return and how the people begin to rebuild their lives. We’ll read about the restoration of God’s people as they retell old stories and address new situations along the way. Would God’s promises still hold true? Had the people forgotten God during their time of exile?

We’ve seen in the Old Testament how God has used foreign nations to interact with and even punish his chosen people. God is now using Cyrus to facilitate their return from exile in a mighty way. Politically, Babylon, that nation who had brutally taken Israel into captivity, has fallen to the Persians. Again, prophecy fulfilled! Now in the first year of King Cyrus’ reign, God is using this Persian leader.

God can use unexpected sources to fulfill prophecy and accomplish his will. We pray for God’s will to be done every time we recite the Lord’s Prayer. Why does it surprise us when he uses such unexpected resources to accomplish his purposes?

That’s a good thing for us. We, too, can be used by God. We’re not necessarily rich, powerful, or of celebrity status. Those are the kind of people who are more likely to change the world, right? Instead, we often find ourselves wondering how someone like us could be used by God. Have you ever questioned that? Remember, if God can use unbelievers, he can certainly use us!

Another take-away for us today is that God is clearly in control. He uses who he pleases and allows us to go through times of hardship to help us realize our need for him. Have there been times when you’ve abandoned God because you didn’t understand why he was allowing certain things in your life?

Jeremiah’s prophecy gave encouragement the exiles could hold on to during their captivity and time of darkness. For us, it’s Jesus who gave us encouragement when he promised he would return. In the meantime, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live within his people to guide and empower us. With such a gift, we don’t need to let the darkness of the world ever overcome us.

colorful animation of prayer hands and hearts and flowers

Let’s pray. Father, refresh me in this moment. It seems darkness is surrounding me. Thank you for your promise to always be with me and to never abandon me. Fill me anew with your Spirit so I can stand strong. Help me to get out of my own way so you can use me for your kingdom purposes. May I stop questioning my own abilities and rely on you for your provision. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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