Life Worth Living ~ The Good News of God's Grace
Ezra 1:1 "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, "All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. 3 Who is among you of all His people? May 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 God), which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem."
The deportation of the ancient Jewish nation of Judah to Babylon took place in three stages under the power of the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar. The last deportation is estimated at 587 B.C. These deportations were God’s awesome discipline on His chosen people for their departure from His law. The return of Judah is estimated at 538 B.C. after Persia conquered Babylon. In the same year “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia” to send and support any Jews who were willing to go back to Judah to rebuild the temple. Notice that this was done “that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.” One of Jeremiah’s prophecies is found in 25:11-12; another in 29:10 “For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.” But even more astonishing is Isaiah’s prophecy in 44:23-28, "Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! 26 Who confirms the word of His servant… 28 Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, 'You shall be built,' And to the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'" What do we see? Two hundred years before anyone thought it possible that Judah would actually go into exile God through Isaiah named the pagan King whose benevolence made the return from exile a reality! God presides over the affairs of nations. The primary purpose in Judah’s return was not actually their restoration. It was the glorification of God through fulfilled prophecy and his ability to use even a pagan for His divine purposes. What is going on with you these days? What is going on with you this day? Can God who named Cyrus 200 years before he was born as the king who would make possible the return of an entire nation to its homeland be aware of and in control of your circumstances? He is aware, He is in control. In your life, His purpose is that in good times and in dire times He can be glorified in you. God’s glorification is the all-inclusive and ultimate purpose of all our circumstances. “Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it!” (Isa 44:23)
- David W. Grubbs, Life Worth Living
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace." Acts 20:24.