January 01, 2014

Called Back and Restored

Ezra 1:1-4

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: &lsquoThe LORD, the God of heaven … has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jeru-salem in Judah.’”
—Ezra 1:2


On September 11, 2001, America watched the World Trade Center towers crumble. The towers were more than just a nice pair of skyscrapers; they represented America’s identity.

When the temple in Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C., Israel’s identity and center as God’s dwelling place came crashing down. Though Israel was God’s special people, they had failed to live as he called them to, so God sent them into exile to bring them to their senses.

But God didn’t leave them to their own devices. He watched over them for 70 years and then brought them back. How did he do that? In the past God had used special leaders within Israel to point the people back to himself. But this time God appointed a Persian king to see that the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem would be rebuilt. Cyrus would not have been Israel’s first choice. But he was God’s choice, and he submitted to God’s will.

God can use the most unlikely allies to bring us to himself. God uses people who are open to doing his will over their own.

The past year may have been one of dashed relationships, torn dreams, and broken promises. But God provides an unlikely ally to give us new hope and life. His Son, Jesus, King of all kings, submitted to God’s will and gave his own life to pay for our sin. And today, as the risen Savior, he calls us back to God to enjoy full life with him.

Lord, open us to your will, and guide us daily to follow the King who calls us back to you. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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