“Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem…” Ezra 1:7
King Cyrus obviously played an important role in the reconstruction of the holy temple, yet he wasn’t merely a cheerleader on the sidelines cheering the Israelites on. He also participated in the project in a meaningful way. He made a great contribution toward the rebuilding by returning the articles taken away from the temple by the Babylonian king years before to where they righty belonged.
How could the king keep the holy articles while he was championing the enterprise of reconstructing the temple? It would have been rather inconsistent for him to do so, yet, on the other hand, he was the king and he could have done anything by his own volition and no one would have dared to challenge him.
By returning the holy articles, the king at the least could have maintained a clean conscience, knowing that he had done the right thing, pleasing in God’s sight.
How in the world can we keep a clean conscience if we keep some articles rightly belonging to God for our personal use or viewing pleasure?
“Should we tithe our social security income?” I asked my wife the other day. Since we have both retired from our jobs, it was time to restructure our tithes and offerings.
“It has all been tithed,” I answered my question before Kathy had the opportunity to answer. Yet she seemed to concur with my conclusion.
I nonetheless continue to ponder on this issue, trying to get to the bottom of things. Can one out-give God? I was wondering. For a while I was feeling guilty “bargaining” with the Lord concerning the amount of my offering, which didn’t seem to make any sense, for all I possess belongs to the Lord and he is entitled to it all. The amount of our offering to the Lord is and should always be all we have, not merely the ten percent required by the law.
Cyrus was the king of Persia and all the valuable articles looted from all nations were his personal property. It might have hurt a little parting from them, yet out of his fear and reverence for the Lord, he emptied out all the treasures and returned them to the true owner of his fortune.
By God’s grace we are who we are, and we merely do what we should by giving tithes and offerings to the Lord, which are a token of our profoundest gratitude toward the One who has created who and what we are. We are simply stewards of the valuables with which he has endowed us so abundantly.
Friday, January 11, 2019 8:30:00 AM