Friday, September 9, 2011

Turning Point

Because of sin, God used King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon to destroy Jerusalem and to hold captive the Jews and carry them away to Babylon. After 70 years in exile, the captives from Judah were allowed to return to their homeland (Jerusalem) by Cyrus, the king of Persia. This was a fulfillment of prophesy by the prophet Jeremiah, "This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. 'Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,' says the Lord. “I will make the country of the Babylonians a wasteland forever (Jeremiah 25:11-12)." In Jeremiah 29:10, he says, "This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again." The prophet Isaiah also prophesied the same in Isaiah 44:28–45:3, "When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’” and "this is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never to shut again. This is what the Lord says: “I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness-secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name."

Zerrubabel led the first captives of Judah to their homeland to rebuild the temple. The Jews worked together to accomplish the task of rebuilding the temple that was first built by King Solomon. Despite years of opposition and accusations against them, they were able to complete the temple. This was a turning point for the nation of Israel and it brought hope to the people who had returned.

God was faithful to keep His promises to His chosen people. Even after being discouraged and frightened by their enemies, they continued to rely on God to give them strength. They stood strong in the Lord and trusted in His power to help them overcome the powerful forces of opposition. We too must stand strong and lean on God. No matter if it is days, weeks, months, or 70 years, we must never give up hope that God will fulfill His promises to us. For you'll never know if the turning point of your life is just ahead.

As God used Cyrus to bring His people back to their homeland, be encouraged and encourage others to continue on, for God can use others to do the same for you. It is important to recognize and help others recognize the obstacles, such as fear or discouragement, that may hinder their motivation to overcome the stumbling blocks that come their way.

No comments:

Post a Comment