Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the God Who moves empires

Whoever 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 rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel-he is the God who is in Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:3

The time had come to rebuild. The Jews had been slowly trickling back to their homeland. The ancient city of Jerusalem, rubble-strewn as it was, was slowly starting to re-populate. But the city was in ruins and the temple of God was destroyed. God in His foreknowledge had told His people that one day a king named Cyrus would set the people free to return to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 25:11-14; 32:36-38). And it is Cyrus who issues the command for able-bodied Jews to return to the city and rebuild the temple of the Lord.

God weaves the historical details together in such a way that it is clear this is His doing. And with a sovereign move of God upon the command of an absolute emperor, the Jews filter back to Jerusalem with the necessary supplies coming from their captors to rebuild the temple of the Lord. All is in place. God used a pagan king and a foreign government to provide all the people, the power, and the provisions to start the rebuilding work.

God is in control. He brings all ends to His glory. And His sovereignty extends to using the means to those ends. In rare occurrences we get clear revelation of that extent of God's sovereignty. The decree of Cyrus is just such a moment. It makes me marvel at the greatness of God. But it also challenges my faith. In most life circumstances I do not get to see God's sovereign work in me revealed with absolute clarity to me. It comes slowly over time in a view that makes sense of the past. That takes a very courageous faith to trust in God. But I can do so. He knows what He is doing. He will move everything or anything or anyone He chooses to accomplish His purposes.

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