The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), September 8
Where God gives a promise, He commits His resources.
God promised Jeremiah that after seventy years He would bring Judah back to their land. Seventy years have passed, and God is moving to keep His promise. Each movement of God reveals a truth about God.
God moves the heart of Cyrus king of Persia, a pagan king, to cooperate with His agenda, “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 . . .” (Ezra 1:1). Truth revealed: God turns the hearts of pagan kings to do His will.
God convinces Cyrus king of Persia to commission the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s temple, “He has commanded me to build a Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah” (1:2). Truth revealed: No man is too pagan or too big for God to accomplish His purposes through him.
God persuades Cyrus king of Persia to release the Jews in exile to rebuild the temple, “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” (1:3). The Jews add to the government’s bottom line; to release captives to return to their own country and rebuild their temple is significant. Truth revealed: God moves the hearts of pagan kings to show favor to His people to accomplish His purposes.
God prompts Cyrus king of Persia to command Jews from all over the country to contribute to the rebuilding effort, “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” (1:4). Truth revealed: God has His hand in the governing affairs of man to provide the finances to accomplish His purposes.
God moves in the hearts of the exiles to volunteer for the rebuilding mission and in the hearts of the remaining Jews to give generously to the cause, “Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered” (1:5-6). Truth revealed: God calls people and uses their resources to accomplish His purposes.
Cyrus releases the temple articles that had been taken seventy years earlier, “King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods” (1:7) demonstrating that pagan coffers are simply God’s storage bins, to be opened at His bidding!
This scene reveals that there’s no telling what God will do to fulfill His purposes.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Dan. 6, 9; 2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-11; 1 Chron. 3:17-18):
Daniel is deported in 605 BC at the age of sixteen, and the lion’s den episode occurs in year 539 BC. How old is Daniel? What does Daniel’s response to King Darius reveal about Daniel and His view of God? How has the LORD prepared Daniel for this day?
On what does Daniel base the prayer that he prays in Daniel 9? (Review the ending of Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 6:12-42)
What does the LORD reveal to Daniel regarding the rationale for rebuilding the temple?
Review Isaiah 44:8; 45:1. God had given this prophecy over 100 years before.
Review Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10.
What does the fulfillment of both Isaiah and Jeremiah’s prophecies reveal about God?