“The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.” Ezra 1:2
From time to time we ought to take an inventory of what we have and consider the purpose behind it, asking the Lord what he wants us to do with what we possess. We are entirely misled if we believe that it’s for our personal enjoyment and benefit that the Lord has bestowed on us all the good things we have, both physically and spiritually.
The king of Persia might have been a ruthless leader and he wouldn’t have gotten his position without being that way. Surely he had shed much blood in the process of his conquests and was hated by people of many nations. By all accounts, King Cyrus might not have been an admirable man and, like all monarchs in human history, he was lauded by some and condemned by others, a mixed bag of both good and evil.
Yet there was one thing that stood out in the king’s life: he evidently believed in the sovereignty of God and was willing to submit to His leading concerning one particular thing - the construction of God’s temple in holy city of Jerusalem. The king proclaimed “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.”
The king was obviously convinced that it was the Lord who had handed the vast kingdom to him and with the gift came a responsibility, for the Lord had an important mission for him to accomplish. He realized the Lord had appointed him “to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.”
What kind of gift has the Lord given to me at this point in my life and what are the purposes attached to it? This is an essential question that I must ask myself, lest I squander God’s gifts on useless things and, consequently, lead an unproductive and unprofitable life.
I am by no means rich, but to give to the poor isn’t a privilege for the rich alone, for we are called to give according to what we have, not what we don’t have. Even the poor widow mentioned in the gospel was fully equipped to give. Besides material things, there are other gifts that I have been given which I must share with others. Am I going to bury my talent of writing and speaking in the sand, or give it away freely so that people can benefit from it?
I suppose this is what the apostle meant when he exhorted us to offer our lives as “living sacrifices.” Whatever I have received from the Lord should be placed on the altar to be consumed by fire for God’s glory. King Cyrus might not have known the essence of what he was doing, yet by issuing the edict, he was actually making a sacrifice to the Lord.
Friday, January 4, 2019 7:38:00 AM