Saturday, July 16, 2016

making history

The Word for today:
Ezra 5, 6
The book of Ezra recounts the story of how God provided for his people as he led them out of captivity in Babylon and back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.
The prophet Jeremiah had predicted that God's people would return (1) and when the time came God "moved the heart of Cyrus," king of Persia, to issue a proclamation:
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:
Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel. 
It is disheartening when government leaders legislate or act in ways that appear to refute God's will. But God is always in control, no matter who seems to be in the driver's seat:
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD;
he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.
God often uses people who have no interest in him to accomplish his purposes. He uses those who oppose him (Babylon, Herod, Rome, the Pharisees, Pontius Pilate, Judas Iscariot, etc.) to fulfill his plans.
Judas lived with and learned from Jesus for three years, and yet his heart wasn't in it. He turned Jesus over to the authorities, who had him executed.
Pilate thought that he was in charge of Jesus' trial. But when Jesus would not reply to his questions, Pilate asked, "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." (4)
It had always been God's plan for the Messiah to die for the sins of humanity. Judas and Pilate, however, had no idea that they were instrumental in helping God to fulfill his plan of redemption.
Judases and Pilates and presidents and prime ministers like to think they are "making history."
They are making whatever God wants them to make.
(1) Jeremiah 29:1-23 (2) Ezra 1:2-3; (3) Proverbs 21:1; (4) John 19:10-11

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