Return From Exile

It seems to me that a key phrase in the first sections is that God “moved the heart…” – first of Cyrus and then of the family heads of Judah and Benjamin etc. What a beautiful thing if we can see and experience that God is truly at work, perhaps unseen by humans, in the hearts of some to be concerned and in the case of Judah and Benjamin, they are concerned enough to take on the responsibility and want to be a part of the work! I always enjoy Philippians 2:13 when I remember it! “It is God Who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” And if like me, you need to be reminded of responsibility, read the verse before, verse 12!

Are you thrilled that the treasures of the Lord are being returned to Him! Is it that why God is thrilled enough to write down the numbers of articles returned!? Do I myself, personally need to return any thing I have quietly stolen from Him – time, resources, glory etc.?

I was thinking I really don’t understand the feelings of joy to be a returning exile – the feelings felt by these people! But then on second thought, maybe I do! But God feels the need to write down the names of the people for us! – is He saying that He won’t forget it, or is He boasting about something very meaningful that His children were doing for Him, like me, sometimes finding pleasure in seeing my daughters devote themselves in their various ways to our Lord? I haven’t written any book about it, but at the very end of the Old Testament in Malachi 4:16-17, God reminds His people at a low point in their history that He does have a book of remembrance! Wonder if I have the characteristics to be worthy of a mention in His book! And in Revelation, He has two more books!

So they arrive back in the land, and God quietly records the different activities of different ones and finally the grand moment comes, when the foundation of the Temple is laid! I suppose their feelings are experienced by us – sadness when we see how far the church has drifted from the beauty of the church in Acts and then again, hopefully, we are filled with joy at what is being accomplished for Him in the church TODAY! And we as individualistic people, might not be able to distinguish between the two, but I am sure that He understands both feelings! Certainly we happily join in the celebration chorus to the Lord – “He is good; His love to Israel (or to us His people) endures forever.” I’m not a demonstrative person necessarily, but I understand the need to shout with joy (somewhat like the moment of joy at the moment of my daughter’s graduation, and calling out (shouting?) “Way to go ___________!”

But there are enemies, and I pray that I may not help with the enemies’ work – to discourage or cause fear for my brothers and sisters. But be encouraged, God’s work will not be destroyed! Thank you, Lord, help me to keep working and not be discouraged. 1 Corinthians 15:58 assures us that “our abounding in the work of the Lord, will not be in vain!” The serenity prayer has the beautiful idea that some things can be changed and some can’t, and that we pray for the wisdom and acceptance to discern which is which! But change called for in our personal life (and in my work for Him done in faith?) can never be truly hindered (except by me!).

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