Faithlife Sermons

A Backdrop for Renewal Part 2

Laying the Groundwork for Revitalization  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view

Continuing for Renewal

Notes
Transcript
Handout
Introduction to Ezra
Introduction to Ezra
Date 539 B.C.
The date is established by historical fact. Cyrus conquered Babylon and became king over Mesopotamia.
It is modern day Iraq mostly. In addition it encompassed some of Turkey, Iran, and Syria.
The Israelites had been captive in this area for sometime. Judah, The southern kingdom, for approximately 70 Years.
Jeremiah 25:11–12 ESV
This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste.
Jeremiah 25:1–12 ESV
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: “For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the Lord persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, saying, ‘Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever. Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.’ Yet you have not listened to me, declares the Lord, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the Lord, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste.
As you can see from last weeks teaching and this weeks teaching, is what the author is referring to in the passage we are about to read and discuss.
Ezra 1:1–4 ESV
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: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 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. And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”
Ezra 1:1-4

God can & Does use whoever He desires! Ezra 1:1

In our passage, Cyrus, a man who is a pagan is used of God.
What is meant by “the spirit of Cyrus?”
His mental will.
In this passage, we see God do something to the will of man, to alter the action of man. This is done that the purpose of God might be fulfilled.
How does God use Cyrus? Cyrus’ will is altered that he might decree!
Why is it important that Cyrus make a decree?
If you know your historical understanding of the Medes/Persians, you know that a decree/law cannot be
Broken/Altered/Changed.

God uses a Pagan to Prove His own Sovereignty.

Notice that Cyrus call Him “the God of the heavens.”
A note this is not a name in regular use prior to the exilic period.
Notice that Cyrus is pointing to The Lord as the One who blessed him with his position.

God uses a Pagan to Point to His Position!

Cyrus notes that Yahweh is the God of Jerusalem.
Cyrus believes that God has the ability to bless and alter the life of His followers.
The pagan king is commanding the people of God to honor God. Does that tell how far the people had fallen?

God uses Cyrus to Remind of Israel of Past Provisions.

God uses the decree to provide all that was necessary for the task of rebuilding.

Takeaways:

God delivers!
God Provides !
God Blesses!
Captivity was only as long as God desired!
If the above was true for Israel, what does it mean for the church?
Related Media
Related Sermons