Ever heard “timing is everything”? Ever heard “the time is now”? Ever heard “it’s your time”?
Throughout time there have been plans and purposes, schedules and calendars. God’s plan is that nobody would perish but that everyone would turn back to Him and have everlasting life! God’s plan of sending Jesus wasn’t to condemn the world but that through Him the world could be saved! God’s timing is perfect! He is patient because He doesn’t want anyone to perish! We each have to make the choice on our own though and unfortunately not everyone will choose to receive the gift of Jesus into their lives!
So, what about you? Have you chosen to receive the gift of God through Jesus? If not, what’s holding you back? If not, is this year at Christmas your time?
Is it your time?
Today’s reading starts out in Ezra 1 – it was time for the exiles from Israel to go home as Jeremiah’s prophecy had spoken. Jesus is coming back! When He does will you be ready? Will you have made your decision so that you won’t miss out on that incredible time? When He does will you be prepared for Him and not miss out like the girls who were preparing for the wedding but didn’t bring enough oil to be able to stick around and go to the wedding? We don’t know the exact day and the exact time, so we need to be ready at all times!
Is it your time? Are you ready? If Jesus came back today would you be ready? Or, would you be left behind?
Let’s jump in and take a read of what today’s reading has to say in Ezra…
Cyrus Helps the Exiles to Return
1In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
2“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“ ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. 4And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’ ”
5Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites—everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. 6All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.
7Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god.8Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
9This was the inventory:
gold dishes 30
silver dishes 1,000
silver pans 29
10gold bowls 30
matching silver bowls 410
other articles 1,000
11In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along with the exiles when they came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Where is your heart at? Are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you focused on God? Are you aligning with God? Are you starting your walk with Him? Are you building your relationship with Him? Are you spending time with Him? Are you discussing throughout your day life with Him? Is it your time?
The List of the Exiles Who Returned1Now these are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive to Babylon (they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to their own town, 2in company with Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum and Baanah):The list of the men of the people of Israel:
3the descendants of Parosh 2,172 4of Shephatiah 372 5of Arah 775 6of Pahath-Moab (through the line of Jeshua and Joab) 2,812 7of Elam 1,254 8of Zattu 945 9of Zakkai 760 10of Bani 642 11of Bebai 623 12of Azgad 1,222 13of Adonikam 666 14of Bigvai 2,056 15of Adin 454 16of Ater (through Hezekiah) 98 17of Bezai 323 18of Jorah 112 19of Hashum 223 20of Gibbar 95
21the men of Bethlehem 123 22of Netophah 56 23of Anathoth 128 24of Azmaveth 42 25of Kiriath Jearim,Kephirah and Beeroth 743 26of Ramah and Geba 621 27of Mikmash 122 28of Bethel and Ai 223 29of Nebo 52 30of Magbish 156 31of the other Elam 1,254 32of Harim 320 33of Lod, Hadid and Ono 725 34of Jericho 345 35of Senaah 3,63036The priests:
the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family of Jeshua) 973 37of Immer 1,052 38of Pashhur 1,247 39of Harim 1,01740The Levites:
the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel (of the line of Hodaviah) 7441The musicians:
the descendants of Asaph 12842The gatekeepers of the temple:
the descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita and Shobai 13943The temple servants:
the descendants of Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, 44Keros, Siaha, Padon, 45Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, 46Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan, 47Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, 48Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, 49Uzza, Paseah, Besai, 50Asnah, Meunim, Nephusim, 51Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, 52Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, 53Barkos, Sisera, Temah, 54Neziah and Hatipha55The descendants of the servants of Solomon:
the descendants of Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda, 56Jaala, Darkon, Giddel, 57Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-Hazzebaim and Ami
58The temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon 39259The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel:
60The descendants of Delaiah, Tobiah and Nekoda 65261And from among the priests:
The descendants of Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai (a man who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name).62These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. 63The governor ordered them not to eat any of the most sacred food until there was a priest ministering with the Urim and Thummim.64The whole company numbered 42,360, 65besides their 7,337 male and female slaves; and they also had 200 male and female singers. 66They had 736 horses, 245 mules, 67435 camels and 6,720 donkeys.68When they arrived at the house of the Lordin Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. 69According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.70The priests, the Levites, the musicians, the gatekeepers and the temple servants settled in their own towns, along with some of the other people, and the rest of the Israelites settled in their towns.–Ezra 2
A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters Godʼs rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
12For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from Godʼs sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Jesus the Great High Priest14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach Godʼs throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.–Hebrews 4