The Details Matter
Most of the stories of the Kings of Israel occurred at the same time Assyria was rising to power from 900BC- 607BC. God was preparing cruel Assyria to be His tool to judge backslidden Israel. God’s prophets who warned Israel of coming judgment included Elijah, Elisha, Joel, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah and Micah.
In 734 BC, the ten northern tribes of Israel were conquered by cruel Assyria and were dispersed throughout the world where they are to this day.
Later the two southern Tribes of Israel, Judah and Benjamin, were captured and taken into Babylon as slaves by Emperor Nebuchadnezzar. The prophet Jeremiah warned of this in Jeremiah 25:1-12. Other prophets to Judah included: Ezekiel, Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
While these Jews were in Babylonian Captivity Jeremiah prophesied in a letter to them in Jeremiah 29:1-11, advising them to plan to settle in Babylon for the next seventy years. They were to marry, have children and build homes for themselves. They were not going to be delivered any sooner.
FINALLY THE SEVENTY YEARS WERE ACCOMPLISHED.
Cyrus did not command them to return to the homeland. He allowed them to choose whether they would leave or stay. When freed by Cyrus, only a remnant of Judah chose to return to their Homeland. This is how it has been throughout redemptive history. Of course, God is sovereign in the affairs and decisions of men; however, that does not hinder our personal freedom. All are still free to receive or reject Him. God, of course, knows the end from the beginning and always accomplishes His will.
There were still obstacles to their freedom that only God could overcome. In this book of Ezra we see God moving in amazing ways to remove those obstacles.
God delivered them from Babylonian captivity by allowing Cyrus of Persia to conquer Babylon in 536 BC. and rise to power over Judah, as well as the rest of the world. The remnant that returned were known by God by their names and even by the number of people from each family that returned.
Most astounding, Isaiah, who prophesied from 745-695 BC, prophesied Cyrus by name and told what he would accomplish 200 years before he was born. You can read that prophesy in Isaiah 44:23-28 and 45:1-13. Truly the King’s heart as well as the heart of every political leader in the world, is in God’s hand, according to Proverbs 21:1.
Along with God’s sovereignty which accomplishes His sovereign will in the affairs of man, we Christians are called to pray for our government leaders in II Timothy 2:1-4 that we might live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
In answer to prayer, God moved in the heart of Cyrus to give Judah permission to return to their Homeland. But more than that, He gave permission for them to rebuild their temple. He even provided grants for them to help rebuild. Not only that, but he took the golden and silver vessels of the temple which Nebuchadnezzar had stolen and put in his treasure houses and Cyrus returned those temple vessels to Judah to restore to their temple.
GOD KNOWS YOUR NAME AND ALL THE DETAILS ABOUT YOU.
Reading Ezra chapters 1 & 2 we become aware of many details, including names and numbers of unknown people and even the number of animals that returned from Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem, their Homeland, when Emperor Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon in 538 BC.
Ii Timothy 2:19 Reminds us that “The Lord know them that are His and let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” Note several lists of those who belong to Christ in Romans 16, Malachi 3:16-17 and Hebrews 11. God does not forget His own.
Note in Ezra 2 the lists and numbers by category of those who belonged to God. the priests 2:36-39, the Levites who were not descendents of Aaron, 2:40, the singers 2:41, the porters who carried everything 2:42, the Nethinims, slaves who drew water and cut wood 2:43. The grand total of all those who returned from Babylonian slavery were 42.360 people.
God know exactly how many and who belongs to Him. He encourages us to rejoice because our names are written in Heaven in the Lambs Book of Life.
In Zechariah 4:10 we are encouraged to not despise the seemingly small and insignificant details of our lives. God is at work even in the smallest of details.
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