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RETURNING FROM CAPTIVITY.pdf

RETURNING FROM CAPTIVITY.pdf

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY J. R. MILLER



Read Ezra I., 1-11

But little is known concerning the history of the
people during the seventy years except what we
gather from the allusions of the prophets of that
period. We know, however, that under God's
providence the captivity wrought great good to
the Jews. By severe discipline they were cured
forever of idolatry. It has been noted as a re-
markable fact, almost, if not altogether, without
parallel, that the Jewish nation survived such a
dislocation and dissolution of all local and social
bonds as the captivity produced. One reason for
this was the religious faith that bound them to-
gether.
BY J. R. MILLER



Read Ezra I., 1-11

But little is known concerning the history of the
people during the seventy years except what we
gather from the allusions of the prophets of that
period. We know, however, that under God's
providence the captivity wrought great good to
the Jews. By severe discipline they were cured
forever of idolatry. It has been noted as a re-
markable fact, almost, if not altogether, without
parallel, that the Jewish nation survived such a
dislocation and dissolution of all local and social
bonds as the captivity produced. One reason for
this was the religious faith that bound them to-
gether.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 27, 2013
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RETURNING FROM CAPTIVITYBY J. R. MILLER Read Ezra I., 1-11But little is known concerning the history of thepeople during the seventy years except what wegather from the allusions of the prophets of thatperiod. We know, however, that under God'sprovidence the captivity wrought great good tothe Jews. By severe discipline they were curedforever of idolatry. It has been noted as a re-markable fact, almost, if not altogether, withoutparallel, that the Jewish nation survived such adislocation and dissolution of all local and socialbonds as the captivity produced. One reason forthis was the religious faith that bound them to-gether. Besides, through all their humiliating ex-periences the hope of a return to their own land,according to their prophets, lived unquenchable intheir hearts. A still further reason is found inthe fact that the holy seed was in this nation, andit was therefore the object of special divine care.It is remarkable how even the genealogies of fam-ilies were sacredly kept during the captivity.When it is remembered that the line of the Mes-190EZRA I., 1-11 191siah ran through the tribe of Judah, the impor-tance of this is obvious.The returning of the Jews was not an accident
 
in history. The Lord's hand was in it: ''That theword of Jehovah . . . might be accomplished,Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus." Godnever forgets a promise. When the end of theseventy years drew nigh He set in motion provi-dential movements which prepared the way forthe return of the people. Not a jot or tittle of aught that God has ever spoken can fail of ful-fillment. Any word of His that we find anywherein the Scriptures we may grasp and trust, know-ing that He will make it good.Notice the way the Lord brought about thisreturn of His people. ''Jehovah stirred up thespirit of Cyrus." God can always find some wayto reach men's hearts. It may be rememberedthat Daniel was still living and stood high in thegovernment. Possibly it was through his inter-cession that the attention of Cyrus was drawn tothe Jews in their captivity. Cyrus was a Gen-tile, but God's dominion is not confined to Hisown people. His authority extends everywhere.Heathen nations are under His sway. He uses allthe powers of the world for the carrying out of His own plans. Men come on the stage of actionand carry out their own little ambitions with nothought of doing anything for the Lord, uncon-scious that what they do is in any sense a fulfill-ment of a divine purpose. Yet without knowing192 RETURNING FROM CAPTIVITYit they are really helping to execute plans of Godmade long before they were born. It is a comfortto us to know that the divine purposes are beingcarried out in all the world's life. Even wickedmen's devices which appear to be destructive tothe Church are overruled to the fulfillment of 
 
God's purposes of love.Cyrus did much to open the way for the peo-ple of Israel to return to their own land. He sentforth the proclamation, ''Whosoever there isamong you of all His people, his God be with him,and let him go up to Jerusalem . . . andbuild the house of Jehovah." The proclamationwas addressed to all the Jews who were in therealm. All who would were invited to go to Je-rusalem to help in the work, but there was no com-pulsion. There is another temple to be built forthe Lord, and again builders are wanted. Theproclamation comes now not from a heathen king,but from Jesus Christ Himself. Every one is in-vited to come and take part in this great work.The poorest and the smallest can do somthing.The temple at Jerusalem on which these build-ers wrought has long since perished. But thetemple on which God wants us to build shall standforever, and everything any one may do on thisbuilding shall be eternal. But how can we buildon the walls of the heavenly temple? By doingall we can in this world for Christ. Our own livesare parts of the temple, and we may seek to haveour characters made good and holy. Then we canEZRA L, 1-11 193 *strive to make other lives better, to bring otherpeople to Christ, and to help build up in them alikeness to the Lord Jesus. The smallest thingsthat we can do for Christ shall be like stones laidon the walls of Christ's house, which is risingwithin the veil, like ornaments— little touches of beauty on some part of the glorious building.

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