Thank you so much Center Point family for faithfully reading Jumpstart. It is so important to read and study the Bible and we really hope and pray that you fall more in love with Jesus through His written Word to us.
Today we will be starting the book of Ezra. We are not sure who wrote this book but many scholars believe that it was the same author of 1-2 Chronicles and Nehemiah. God’s people were taken into exile in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar and in 538 B.C. King Cyrus of Persia overthrew that king and allowed the Jewish exiles to return back to their land. The first 6 chapters of the book of Ezra covers their journey back home. Chapters 7-10 occur a half century later when Ezra arrives and encourages God’s people to stay faithful to the Lord in worship and in keeping the law. This entire book’s theme is about the importance of faithfulness, a great reminder for us as summer comes up and it’s easy to get off routine.
We see in the first chapter of Ezra, King Cyrus releasing God’s people to go back to their land and rebuild the temple that was destroyed by the Babylonians. He aided them in their journey back and returned back their stolen goods. There are two things that was amazing about this proclamation from their new king: 1. He was pagan. 2. Prophecies made about this decree in Isaiah and Jeremiah.
God has used unbelievers for good and the advancement of His kingdom throughout history and his prophets even prophesied about this one years before. This shows how God is sovereign over the entire world and can speak to and use anyone and everything. As often as we hear about King Cyrus in the Old Testament, we never see rock solid proof that he ever had saving faith in the One True God but he definitely listened to him and God used him. We need to remember this in our own lives with the authority God places over us. We are to never support sin and trust in earthly politics over God’s kingdom. But we can partner with and support people who have Biblical values in mind.
- How has God used an unbeliever out of His sovereignty in your life?
- Do you trust God enough to do this with people that may believe or live differently than you? How can you still share the Gospel with them?
By: Erik Koliser