April 8, 2022 - Ezra 1
Cyrus has issued his famous edict, and now the people are preparing to return home from exile. The situation is reminiscent of the people’s exodus from Egypt in that they received provisions from the people who were holding them captive. In Egypt: “The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians” (12:35,36). Here in Ezra, Cyrus instructed: “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” (1:4). Also, Cyrus brought out and returned all that had been plundered from the temple.
In both instances (Egypt, Babylon), the people are about to embark on a huge mission of returning to the land and settling there. And, in each instance, God not only opened the door for them to move, and he not only went with them, but he also provided all the material goods they needed. Matthew 6, anyone? “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:33-34).
Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath his wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.
God will take care of you,
through ev'ry day, o’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you. -- Civilla D. Martin (1904)