God’s Favor in New Beginnings
Israel had been plundered and taken captive to Babylon for nearly 50 years. Now, the Persian empire had conquered the mighty Babylonians under Emperor Cyrus, and the Jews had a chance to return to their land. King Cyrus asked the Jews not only to return to their land but also to rebuild the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. He bestowed immense favor on them and decreed:
1. The costs of rebuilding are to be paid by the royal treasury.
2. Gold and silver and articles, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem, were to be returned and deposited in the House of God.
3. honor was to be given to the Elders of Israel - their expenses were to be paid from the royal treasury and the priests were exempt from being taxed.
4. Bulls, rams, lambs, salt, oil, wheat and wine were all to be given to them on a daily basis for freewill offerings in the Temple of God.
5. If any of the Persian people were not to carry out the King’s decrees, their house would be turned to a pile of rubble.
This was the favor of God upon His people, brought about by a ‘gentile Persian King’. Though King Cyrus did not know the Lord, he was a righteous king. He honored the Israelites, the Lord’s people, and helped them restart their lives in the land promised to them, by doing what was most important – rebuilding the Temple of God, the place where they would meet with God. It symbolized a new start with Him.
God uses even gentiles to fulfill His Word and grants us immense favor through them. What the Lord has said, will come to pass, even if it is through unbelievers.
I expect and receive the favor of God, even from the gentiles God has placed around me. No man can come against the plan God has set for me.