Day 310 Bible Reading Plan (Ezra 1-5)

Nothing Like Coming Home

Nothing Like Coming Home

Friends, there’s nothing like coming home. Have you ever come through a tough season and you just long for home? Or simplicity—a time when things just did not seem so hard? I daresay that many of us feel like that this year, I know I do. The year started off with a diagnosis of Melanoma for me, then COVID hung over all of our hearts and minds all year long, then I finally got COVID and its complications. And now the election drama.

But even in the midst of uncertainties, there is one thing that is certain: God presides over it all. He is sovereign and good and nothing is wasted in His hands. He will use it all and use it for the good of those who love Him and for His glory. And even though on this side of eternity we might not ever find that peace we long for, we can still amazingly have peace in the midst. The hopes we have on this earth cannot compare to what awaits us in Heaven. Having this superior hope helps us to live joy-filled lives even when it seems there is no joy surrounding us.

Bible Reading of the Day: Ezra 1-5

I look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas when my children come home. The joy is palpable. Just being present together.

Today we are starting a new book of the Bible —the book of Ezra. God’s people were coming home after having been exiled in Babylon for 70 years. Can you imagine? I am pretty sure it is hard for us to put ourselves in that place. 70 years. And being exiled was no picnic, either. Many likely died during such a lengthy exile. And as those who returned came home, they arrived to desolation. I am sure their joy at coming home was mixed with grief as they considered how to rebuild.

But God. The king’s heart is in His hands and ultimately, God is King. God worked through King Cyrus to accomplish His purposes and to give favor to His people as they sought to rebuild the temple.

Nothing Like Coming Home—God is in Charge

Look at this incredible background about King Cyrus that I found in gotquestions.org:

“Cyrus is a king mentioned more than 30 times in the Bible and is identified as Cyrus the Great (also Cyrus II or Cyrus the Elder) who reigned over Persia between 539—530 BC. This pagan king is important in Jewish history because it was under his rule that Jews were first allowed to return to Israel after 70 years of captivity.

In one of the most amazing prophecies of the Bible, the Lord revealed Cyrus’s decree to free the Jews to Isaiah. One hundred fifty years before Cyrus lived, the prophet calls him by name and gives details of Cyrus’ benevolence to the Jews: “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him . . . ‘I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me’” (Isaiah 45:1, 4; see also 41:2-25; 42:6). Evincing His sovereignty over all nations, God says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please” (Isaiah 44:28).”

Friends, does this Scripture give us hope today? The same God who was in control of a pagan king is in complete control of whoever wins this election. God’s use of Cyrus as a “shepherd” for His people illustrates the truth of Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.”

Nothing Like Coming Home—God’s Plan Prevails

The question is, will we trust God, or give in to despair? Will we pray for God to move in the hearts of our leaders and the people of this nation? I am praying that the truth of this election will be made known. And I am confident that God is not surprised by any of this and He is working all things out.

Ezra 1:1-4

“In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah, the Lord roused the spirit of King Cyrus to issue a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom and to put it in writing:

2 This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord, the God of the heavens, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build him a house at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Any of his people among you, may his God be with him, and may he go to Jerusalem in Judah and build the house of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 Let every survivor, wherever he resides, be assisted by the men of that region with silver, gold, goods, and livestock, along with a freewill offering for the house of God in Jerusalem.”

Nothing Like Coming Home—Rebuilding Together

Friends, we’ve got some rebuilding to do in our country. In our churches. In our homes. God is for us—who can be against us? Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy or we can give up because of fear off man and being intimidated. Now is the time for the church to arise. Don’t fear politics. God is in control—not man! God will move in our midst, but He wants to use us, too.

But, friends, we might have to lay down our expectations. The process will not be easy. It was not easy for the Jews, it will not be easy for us. There will be those who are against us. But the One Who is for us is greater than those who are against us.

Ezra 3:3

“They set up the altar on its foundation and offered burnt offerings for the morning and evening on it to the Lord even though they feared the surrounding peoples.”

In the wake of the election, things are getting kind of ugly out there, huh? I have people saying some pretty unkind things about others who voted a different way. Don’t pay attention to this, friends.

Scripture of the Day: Ezra 4:4-5

“4 Then the people who were already in the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build. 5 They also bribed officials to act against them to frustrate their plans throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia and until the reign of King Darius of Persia.”

My goodness, the timing of these verses we are reading today! Corruption of officials, intimidation, and bribing. There are likely fraudulent votes in the election even now. But we don’t have to let that discourage us, friends!

God’s people had to fight for their right to build the Temple of God, and we will have to fight for righteous laws in the postmodern world that we live in today. If we are silent, friends, our rights will be stripped away and Christian persecution will rise. Don’t let anyone intimidate you from supporting truth and righteousness. Ever. We are the voice that God has sent into the world.

Let’s build, friends! God has called us to build His Kingdom.

How do We Build?

How Do We Build?—With Trust in God.

  • Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
  • Trusting God gives us access to this peace. Not trusting in man.

How Do We Build?—With Hope in God.

  • Hope in God not in man or politicians. This gives us peace.
  • We have great hope and an incredible future, friends!
  • Revelation 11:15 says, “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

How Do We Build?—With Prayer to God.

  • Keep praying, friends. We have a red hot mess in our day and age much like Ezra did. God is still LORD over it all. And He has asked us to pray.
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-4 “First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made in behalf of all people, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • What do we pray? We pray for the truth to come out. We pray for God’s will to be done. And we pray as the Holy Spirit leads. We pray for salvation of all people. That God would open eyes. That we would have a righteous nation. That revival will sweep across our land. We pray against the demonic forces and division, against the spirit of deception.

How Do We Build?—With His Word.

  • Friends, we have to be in God’s word to understand His purposes and will. And frankly, to be able to live this life down here in this fallen world.
  • Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

Application

  • Don’t despair. Don’t ride the rollercoaster. Just trust in God.
  • Keep praying.
  • Keep building.
  • And Keep hoping.
  • Keep looking to God and not to man.

𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘁 12 𝗽𝗺 𝗘𝗧.

Day #310: Ezra 1-5—Nothing Like Coming Home

𝒱𝑒𝓇𝓈𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒟𝒶𝓎: Ezra 4:4-5

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