That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid. Isaiah 44:28.
The Lord has resources. His hand is on the machinery. When the time came for His temple to be rebuilt, He moved upon Cyrus as His agent to discern the prophecies concerning Himself, and to grant the Jewish people their liberty.
The deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions had been used of God to create a favorable impression upon the mind of Cyrus the Great….
As the king saw the words foretelling, more than a hundred years before his birth, the manner in which Babylon should be taken; as he read the message addressed to him by the Ruler of the universe, … his heart was profoundly moved, and he determined to fulfill his divinely appointed mission. He would let the Judean captives go free; he would help them restore the temple of Jehovah. In a written proclamation published “throughout all his kingdom,” Cyrus made known his desire to provide for the return of the Hebrews and for the rebuilding of their temple….
Tidings of this decree reached the farthermost provinces of the king’s realm, and everywhere among the children of the dispersion there was great rejoicing. Many, like Daniel, had been studying the prophecies, and had been asking God for His promised intervention in behalf of Zion….
Upon Zerubbabel … Cyrus placed the responsibility of acting as governor of the company returning to Judea; and with him was associated Joshua the high priest. The long journey across the desert wastes was accomplished in safety, and the happy company … at once undertook the work of re-establishing that which had been broken down and destroyed.
The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. All kings, all nations, are His, under His rule and government. His resources are infinite. The wise man declares, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Those upon whose actions hang the destinies of nations, are watched over with a vigilance that knows no relaxation by Him who “giveth salvation unto kings.”
Conflict and Courage p. 257
—–Please pray for a dear friend’s mom and her family. Kimberly
—–unspoken prayer request. l
As Esther passed many houses of varying size and shape one day many years ago, they caught her attention although she had gone by them many times before. She began to think about their differences and their similarities and compare them to friends she has had over the years. When she got home, she jotted down some of her thoughts and sent them to me. I thought that I would share these with you as it teaches a lesson we all need at times.
“Friendship is as a house. At first you must put forth effort to build it, from the earth up, taking care to use the right equipment and supplies. As effort is put into it, the house takes shape into the image the maker prefers.
“A house can take many forms. Some may be tall and majestic, while others may be humble. Is either not a house, because of its size? Some may have defects in the blue prints, while others are perfect. Is either not a house, because of its imperfections? One house may be green, the other brown. Is either not a house, because of its color?
“Houses need care and love. Even if it is not perfect, can it not still shelter from the wind and rain. Problems can be fixed, holes patched, nails pounded, windows replaced, counters refinished. Should a house be thrown away just because of a scratch?
?It is the same with a friend. Does it matter the size or shape they have taken? When problems arise, should they be thrown away and forsaken? With whom will you find shelter and warmth the next time trials come your way?
“Take care of your friends, love your friends. They may not be without fault, but neither are you. Check your own roof for leaks, walls for holes, and counters for scratches. Make sure you are the best friend that you can be! Then, and only then, will you ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt. 19:19”
As I read her musings, I began to think of what the Bible says about friends and friendship. Solomon observed, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Prov 18:24 How often we expect our friends to be perfect, to never make an error in judgment, to view all just as we do, yet, we excuse our own faults and failings—faults that may be much worse than the one we are condemning. Our Dear Saviour warns, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye, and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matt 7:1-5
What close fellowship our Heavenly Friend yearns to have with us. Just as He called Abraham his friend, so His Great Heart of Love longs to be able to say the same about us. Think if it! Despite the fact that Abraham sometimes had leaks in his “roof,” holes in his “walls,” and scratches on his “counters,” our Loving, Forgiving Friend considered him His friend.
What made their relationship endure despite Abraham’s faults and failings? James tells us, “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” James 2:23 His was not a mere mental assent that God exists. No! Abraham believed his Heavenly Friend enough to obey Him. He trusted Him enough to follow his Lord when He bade him to leave a comfortable home, friends and family, all that he was used to and wander throughout the promised land. Paul says of him, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Heb 11:8-10 No matter where Abraham journeyed, he set up an altar which pointed to the Lamb who was to be slain for all who believe. God’s Holy Word does not gloss over Abraham’s sins. They are written for our admonition that as we see that when failed His Friend, he was not forsaken but instead, was rebuked and forgiven, we can understand God’s dealings with us. And when the greatest test came, Abraham did not withhold his most precious possession, the child through whom the Messiah would come.
May we be loving and kind to all, especially to our friends, overlooking their “leaky roofs,” disregarding the “holes in their walls,” helping to soothe the “scratches on their counters.” May we remember our Dear Saviour’s admonition, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matt 7:12 May we, above all, so live that it may be said of us that we are a friend of God.