SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (January 23, 2014)
See EZRA 2:1-66
“THEN THE LORD SAID TO MOSES, “GO IN TO PHARAOH AND SAY TO HIM, ‘THUS SAYS THE LORD, THE GOD OF THE HEBREWS, “LET MY PEOPLE GO, THAT THEY MAY SERVE ME” Exodus 9:1 (ESV).
In this edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we want to emphasize on how God released the Jews from their captivity under the Persian King, Cyrus. In the previous chapter, we saw how God stirred the heart of Cyrus to command his people to offer gifts to the Jews to enable them go back to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the temple. This was followed by Cyrus’ command to bring out from the King’s treasurer everything Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple during the captivity. This was also adhered to by his treasurer. This would surely bring joy to the Jews because of the realization that the Lord had given back to them whatever they lost. This teaches us that the Lord can give back to us everything we lost in the past provided we will continue to walk closely with him.
Even though the LORD caused Cyrus to release the items needed for the rebuilding of the temple, God still had a good plan concerning his people. God did not just release the gold and the silver to his people while they remained in exile. God completed the fulfillment of his promise to his people by releasing his people from exile under King Cyrus. God was not only concerned about the rebuilding of the temple, he was also very much concerned about the people who were going to build the temple. He is always aware and concerned about the needs of his people. He therefore ensured that Cyrus released all the Jews in his territory just as God used Moses to redeem his people from Egypt. Let us not forget that the Jews had been in exile for over seventy years. Being in exile means that they lost their freedom in several ways. They could not worship as they would have done if they were in Judah or Jerusalem. Some of them had lost their properties and were living as paupers. Most of them had lost any hope of redemption. Yet God had not forgotten of them. I want you to also remember that God has not forgotten of you. He still remembers and cares for you.
This applies to many Christians of today. There are lots of Christians today who are still living in bondages of different kinds. Many Christians find themselves in certain circumstances they are still finding it very hard to get out of. Some are living in the exile of chronic diseases. They have spent all their money trying to get their complete healing, but to no avail. Some Christians have been battling with financial difficulties for many years now. They find it hard to raise money to pay their rents, utility bills, children’s fees among others. This is a kind of exile such Christians find themselves in. Many Christians still find themselves in the exile of barrenness. They have been married for some time and looking for children but still without children. All the above and many others are some kinds of spiritual exile people find themselves in. But I want to assure God’s people that it is God’s intention to release his people from exile at the appointed time. You might have looked forward to it last year without success. This year can be your appointed year. It can be the year God is going to set you free from financial poverty, sicknesses, joblessness, spiritual weakness, and failure in business, failure in relationships, barrenness and hopelessness. You only have to believe that God can do it for you, and he will surely do it for you.
The most serious exile that we all need to be freed from is the exile of sin. Many people, including Christians, are living in sins they find them hard to get out of. At the end of every year they resolve not to back to them. They succeed for some time only to get back into those sins. This has been the cycle for many Christians. This is the bondage we need to ask God to release us from even as we look up to him for deliverance from the bondages of pains, sicknesses, poverty, etc.
The truth is that sin is the cause of most of the hardships we face in life, if not all. Once we are freed from the bondage of sin, it becomes easier to be freed from any other bondage. God sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we can be free from the power of sin, Satan and death.
If we shall draw nearer to Jesus and walk closely with him this year, and allow him to purge us of all sins, we shall be free from any other bondage the devil has put us in.
According to Jesus, we should seek first the Kingdom Of God and its righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto us. It could imply that if we allow ourselves to be set free from our sins, we shall gain our freedom from all other forms of bondage. I would like to emphasize that indeed God is going to set his people free from any form of bondage we find ourselves. However, we need to be free from sin to accelerate the process of our freedom from exile. We cannot always remain in sin and expect God to grant us freedom from barrenness, sicknesses, poverty etc. Jesus is still at work; he is calling sinners, forgiving their sins, and setting them free from all bondages. If we shall allow him, he will set us free as the Jews who were released from exile in Persia.
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.