They had to wait “until” Persia came to power, but then God acted on His word. He fulfilled every word He spoke through His prophets.
The people of Israel didn’t have to make it happen. God didn’t need help proving His word true. It is true.
God moves the heart of a pagan king. There is irony in the Israelites refusing to acknowledge that the Lord God delivered them out of Egypt, had given them their land, and deserved their obedience and worship, but this pagan king acknowledges God has given him all the kingdoms of the land. He also knows what God is asking of him and is obeying.
We can sometimes act like we can’t obey because we don’t know what God is asking. If God can communicate so clearly with a pagan, He can speak to you. Just be ready to listen with a heart ready to obey.
God’s people, after seventy years in exile, are ready to obey. They receive and respond to God’s Spirit moving on them.
Their hearts were prepared to listen.
God gives them the task of rebuilding the temple. It is a monumental task. Solomon had it done in seven years with tens of thousands working on it. This time it would take much longer.
It was going to take a lot of dedication and perseverance. It needed this great introduction to send them on their way with confidence and provision. They were going to need to rely on this decree to see the project through.
God stirs up Israelites to return and carry out this task. They plunder Egypt, so to speak, and are sent along with gold and silver. People give a freewill offering to the temple.
I wonder if that humbled the Israelites. There had been a time when it was the joy of God’s people to give to the temple. Now, the pagans are doing what they should have been doing.
It reminds me of the rocks crying out if God’s people stay silent.
If God’s will, will be done, wouldn’t you rather be the one doing it?
This is a great day in Israel’s history, even if bittersweet in that it only happened because they first fell away. But it’s a returning. Revival is springing forth. His compassions did not fail. His people were not forsaken. His promises about the land and the temple were not forgotten.