Ezra 1&2

Psalms 85, 126, 137, 1 & 121

The (Long) Road Back

One hundred seventy-five years before his birth Isaiah prophesied that Cyrus would allow the exiles to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. God has a plan and God gave Judah a promise  as we read in Jeremiah 29:10&11. Today in Ezra we read of the fulfilment of that prophesy in the first chapter of Ezra. Psalms 85, 126, and 137 speak of the joy that comes with the hope of change from captivity to freedom, but nothing changes until something changes. That is what Psalms 1 and 121 allude to.

Every year, after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we are inundated with TV commercials for diet plans and exercise programs. Now is the time to make that New Year’s resolution to make the new you, the ads tell us. Many of us know we need a makeover and so we resolve to make this the year we are going to finally do it. It is exciting to picture in our mind what that makeover is going to look like and so we willingly start out only to find that the excitement based on the new hope we have, turns to work, a lot of work.

It is easy to start well because starting out we have emotional energy to launch us, but that energy soon fades as many of us well know. As we will find in our study, the road back to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple is going to be a long road with many obstacles. God promised the people that He would make a way for them to return. His promise has not changed. We will see that He is able to deal with the opposition and discouragement that comes up along the way if and when they will let Him. But if they do not seek Him, when discouragement and opposition comes up, He will wait until they are willing to turn to Him. He will also send prophets to remind them of His plan and their goal, but as I said before, nothing changes until something changes.

The same is true for us. If we are going to be successful with our “makeover,” whatever that might be, which could range from that New Year’s resolution to dealing with an addiction that has held us captive for years, we need to make a change on the inside to the core beliefs that guide and drive us. There is joy when we make the decision to change but that joy usually fades when the hard work begins. We need to find the inner strength that only God can provide. In the past we have relied on our wisdom and our emotions for our strength but they did not take us where we wanted to go. We need God’s wisdom and God’s power to set us free from captivity and lead us to freedom. The road begins with the Word of God as we read in Romans 10. If you are wanting to make a change from captivity to freedom I urge you to prayerfully read Romans 10.

Have you asked Jesus to come into your heart?

Pastor Dave

Galatians 5:1