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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Ezra 1:1,2

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"THE WORD OF THE LORD SHALL STAND."
I. IN THE FIRST YEAR OF CYRUS, KING OF PERSIA.
A. Cyrus began his sole rule over Persia in the year 536. B.C.
1. The first year of his reign was then 70 years after the first time that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 606 B.C. and took away captives, among whom was Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, more commonly known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
2. That the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.
a. In Jeremiah 25 the Lord declared because the people had turned from Him to serve other gods that he would bring against them Nebuchadnezzar who would take them into captivity.
JER 25:11 And this whole land shall be desolate, and those who see it will be shocked at its desolations, and the people will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are over that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity.
JER 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years have been completed at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in allowing you to return to this place.
b. Daniel who was taken as a captive in the year 606 B.C. tells us that in the first year of the reign of Darius the son of Ahasuerus of the seed of the Medes, that he understood by reading the prophecies of Jeremiah that the Lord had almost accomplished the seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
c. Daniel was a student of the Bible, and he knew by the prophecy that they were coming close to the end of the 70 years of promised captivity; so Daniel began to seek the Lord.
d. Daniel must have been in his mid eighties at the time, and he had a very high place in the government. I believe that he was offering himself to be an instrument of the Lord, if the Lord so desired, to help facilitate the return from captivity.
e. I love making myself available to God.
f. This was the law of the land given by God to the people.
EXO 23:10 You shall sow the land for six years and gather in the fruit: But the seventh [year] you shall let it rest and lie still; that the poor people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner you shall deal with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.
LEV 25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in the fruit from it, but the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: you shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard.
g. In Leviticus 26, God had declared to them that if they would not listen to Him but walked contrary to His law that this is what He would do.
LEV 26:32 I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell there shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lies desolate, and you will be in your enemies' land; then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
B. Israel became a kingdom in the year 1095 B.C. They had been a kingdom for 490 years when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem.
1. During this 490 years of the kingdom, they had not kept the law of the Lord, in giving the land a rest every seventh year.
2. So God is now going to fulfill His promise and remove them from the land for seventy years so that the land can have its Sabbaths. 490 divided by 7 is 70, so the land has seventy years of rest coming to it.
3. The old Greek proverb declares that the dice of the gods are loaded. By this they were saying, that you cannot go against God and win. If you seek to rebel against the law of God, you can be sure that you will lose.
4. One way or another, God will extract His portion.
C. Our text reads "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia."
1. There is another interesting prophecy that deals with this man Cyrus which was given by the prophet Isaiah where the Lord names him 150 years before he was ever born and declares that he would do the will of the Lord in releasing Judah from their captivity.
ISA 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the One that formed you in the womb, I am the LORD that made all things; the One that stretched out the heavens, that spread abroad the earth. I turn wise men backward, and make their knowledge foolish. I confirm the word of My servants, and perform the counsel of My messengers. I say to Jerusalem that you shall be inhabited, and to the cities of Judah, you shall be built for I will raise up the desolate places. I say of Cyrus, you are my shepherd, and you shall perform all My pleasure saying unto Jerusalem, You shall be built. and to the temple, Your foundations shall be laid. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; I will loose the loins of kings, and open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before you and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in two the bars of iron: And I will give to you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, who calls you by your name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name: I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other God beside Me:
2. This is another one of those places where God has proven that He exists outside of our time domain. He speaks of things long before they ever happen or take place to show that He knows the end from the beginning.
3. In Isaiah 46:9, He said, "I am God, and there is no other, I am God, and there is none like Me, I declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times I have spoken of things that have not yet come, I declare that My counsel shall stand."
II. THAT THE WORD OF THE LORD BY THE MOUTH OF JEREMIAH MIGHT BE FULFILLED.
A. You can easily prove whether or not it was the word of the Lord, by whether it was fulfilled or not.
B. If it was the Lord speaking through Jeremiah, then it will surely be fulfilled.
C. Daniel was convinced that it was the word of the Lord, that is what caused him to begin to seriously seek the Lord.
D. The Bible helped Daniel to understand the events that were taking place in his day.
E. The Bible should also help us to understand the events that are taking place in our day and about to take place in the near future, By knowing these things as Daniel we should get on our faces before the Lord to present ourselves to God as instruments that He might use as He desires in these last days.
1. Joshua stood before the people and said: JOS 21:45, "There has not failed any of the good things which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all has come to pass."
2. King Solomon said to the people: 1KI 8:56, "Blessed be the LORD, that has given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant."
3. The prophet Balaam said: NUM 23:19, "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should change: He has spoken, and shall He not do it? what He has spoken, shall He not make it good?"
a. He spoke of the last days when men would have such weapons of destruction that the existence of mankind would be threatened.
b. He spoke of the last days when money would no longer be used as a medium for exchange, but everyone will buy and sell with an assigned number placed on their right hand or on their forehead.
c. He spoke of the last days when the nation of Israel would come back to their land and become a nation once again, and the turmoil that it would create with the surrounding nations.
d. He spoke of the last days when Israel would be invaded by Moslem nations.
e. He spoke of the last days when there would be distress among the nations, but no answers.
f. He spoke of the last days when Europe would become united.
g. He spoke of the last days when men would become lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God.
III. THAT PHRASE, "THAT THE WORD OF THE LORD, MIGHT BE FULFILLED."
A. Do you realize how completely God has fulfilled His word?
1. As Solomon said in his day, not one word has failed of all that He promised. That holds true to the present day.
2. Realizing the certainty of God's word, if I were not a Christian, that would scare the hell out of me. I mean that literally. For Jesus said in Luke 12:4, "I say unto you My friends, don't be afraid of those that kill the body, but after that have no more that they can do to you, but I will tell you who you should fear: Fear Him, which after He has killed the body has the power to cast you into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him."
B. In Galatians 5, Paul describes some of the hellish traits that are in man. Sexual immorality, impurity, and wantonness, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you again as I have before, that they who do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
1. God said in the book of Revelation: REV 20:14, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
2. Finally God said: REV 21:7, "He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
a. Two groups, two destinies.
b. By our own deliberate choice, you and I are in one of the two groups today.
c. I know which group I am in, what group are you in today?
3. I think of the cry of God to the people through the prophet Ezekiel:
EZE 33:11 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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