Ezra 1:3, "Any of you who are His people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you!"Lamentations 3:40, "Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!"
It's been said that we are the sum total of our choices and that whatever we chase apart from God leads to captivity. This message isn't new. In fact, the Israelites heard it repeatedly from the prophets; yet they refused to heed those warnings and received the biggest eviction notice of all time. Because they repeatedly abused the privilege of God's blessing and failed to fear Him, He allowed warring nations to capture His people and take them hundreds of miles away from the Promised Land. The lesson: Poor choices produce harsh consequences.God disciplines those He loves. But once the lessons have been learned, He ushers in unmerited grace. After 70 years of captivity, God instructed King Cyrus to allow the Israelites to return home and restore His temple. In order for them to fulfill this new purpose, they had to understand the privilege they'd been given. And the same is true for us today. We have the freedom to do life our way or God's way. And if we're not going God's way, we're going the wrong way!So, let's save ourselves the pain and hassle of harsh consequences by pursuing God's purpose. After all, we did nothing to deserve what Jesus did on the cross for us. This privilege should make us rejoice, willingly obey God, and live out every second for His glory!
When did God give you a second chance after making a mistake? Take a moment to reflect on how you felt as God restored what had been damaged – even destroyed – in your life. Let this experience serve as a great reminder of God's unending grace, His ability to rescue you at all times, and His desire to guide you in a new direction.
Lord, Thank You for being a God who rescues. No matter what I face, I know that with You are with me. Please guide me and give me wisdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.