by guest blogger Phil Hovatter

Reading an entire book of the Bible in one sitting can give you a better perspective of it than dividing it up over more than one day. This morning I had the opportunity and great pleasure of reading the Old Testament book of Ezra in one big gulp.

Ezra was an Israelite priest held in captivity in Babylon.  In fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy, the Jews were being released to go back to their homeland. Support for their return and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem came from no fewer than three Persian (modern-day Iranian) emperors — Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes. These guys didn’t just support the rebuilding effort with lip service, they also returned temple furnishings stolen by Nebuchadnezzar when he trashed Jerusalem 70 years earlier, and kicked in thousands of pounds of gold and silver, along with herds of animals to be sacrificed at the newly rebuilt temple.

Persian kings supporting the rebuilding of the Jewish temple? When God fulfills a prophecy, He really fulfills a prophecy! Not only did Jeremiah prophesy the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity 70 years before it occurred, Isaiah prophesied the exact name of the emperor who would issue their release — 160 years before it happened. Isaiah 44:28 —[I am the LORD,] who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’”

I get two things from this.

  • First, our help can come from some very unexpected places. Who would expect such lavish support for the Jews to come from Persian emperors?
  • Second, if God says it (even 160 or 2,000 years in advance), it’s a done deal!

So what has God said about you and your situation? Maybe He’s said something specifically about you and future. If so, continue to pray into it and seek the Lord for its fulfillment. Even if He hasn’t said anything specific to you, the Bible is chock full of great promises for those who pursue God  (and some not-so-great ones for those who choose not to pursue God). Search the Scriptures and look for what God is saying to you today. And look for the fulfillment of those promises…even from unlikely sources!

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