Monday, January 6
Ezra 1:2-3, “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘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. Any of His people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.’”
It’s been said that we are the sum total of our choices and that whatever we chase apart from God leads to captivity. This message isn’t new. In fact, the Israelites heard it repeatedly from the prophets; yet they refused to heed those warnings and received the biggest eviction notice of all time. Because they repeatedly abused the privilege of God’s blessing, He allowed warring nations to capture His people and take them hundreds of miles away from the Promised Land. The lesson: Poor choices produce harsh consequences.
God disciplines those He loves. Once lessons have been learned, He ushers in unmerited grace. After 70 years of captivity, God instructed King Cyrus to allow His people to return home and restore His temple. In order for them to fulfill this new purpose, they had to understand the privilege they’d been given. And the same is true for us today. We have the freedom to do life our way or God’s way. And if we’re not going God’s way, we’re going the wrong way!
So, let’s save ourselves the pain and hassle of harsh consequences by pursuing God’s purpose. After all, we did nothing to deserve what Jesus did for us on the cross to offer us the gift of rebirth and everlasting life! This privilege should make us rejoice, willingly obey God, and live out every second for His glory!
When did God give you a second chance after making a very consequential mistake? Take a moment to reflect on how you felt as God restored the seemingly destroyed in your life. Let this experience serve as a great reminder of God’s unending faithfulness and grace, His ability to rescue you at all times and guide you in a new direction.
Lord, thank You for being a God who rescues. No matter what I face, I know that with Your help, I can grow closer to You than ever before. Bring wisdom into my choices and guide me along Your path. In Jesus’ name, Amen.