The Eyes of the Lord
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 84:5-8 | Ezra 5:1 – 6:22 | 1 Corinthians 3:5-23 | Proverbs 20: 26-27
Today’s Scripture Focus: Ezra 5:1 – 6:22
“But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped” (Ezra 5:5 NIV).
God has been watching his people. As they have begun to turn to him, he has turned toward them; he is watching out for them.
The story of Ezra is the story of God turning his face of blessing toward his people after a time of judgment. The people had been idolatrous and rebellious under the kings of Judah and had been taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar, the wicked king of Babylon.
Prophets like Jeremiah and Habakkuk saw it coming, and lamented and wept that the people of God could fall so low that God would remove his hand of blessing, and allow them to come under the judgment of exile in Babylon. The story of Daniel and his three brave friends takes place during this exile in Babylon. It was a hard time for the people of Judah. But as the 70 years of exile were coming near to an end, Daniel (and presumably others) began to pray and seek God for the fulfillment of the promise that God would turn his face toward them again, and bring them back to the land of the promise.
The Kings of Babylon were eventually overthrown by the Medo-Persian empire (as God had predicted through his prophets); God was watching and he was acting on behalf of his people. He would prove faithful to his covenant, and his promise by moving on the heart of a pagan King (isn’t he amazing?).
One of those kings, Cyrus, ordered that the walls of Jerusalem and the temple be rebuilt. He allowed some of the people to go back to begin the job. He also sent along helpers and supplies.
Of course it didn’t take long for opposition to arise. When God is at work, the enemy does what he can to cause confusion, division and frustration. No exception here.
But once again, we see the sovereign hand of God ruling over even the hearts of evil kings. His eye was watching over Judah to protect them, to care for them, to bless them. His eye was watching to strengthen them to accomplish the task of rebuilding the temple. That is the story of Ezra: The story of God watching over his people, remembering his promises to them, seeking to bless them so they can be a blessing.
But his eye is watching you too. He wants to strengthen you today to accomplish the tasks he has given you. He hasn’t forgotten about you. He’s there to care, to protect, to provide and to bless.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Father, thank you for watching over me, protecting me, strengthening me for the tasks of the day. I give myself wholly to you today that I might be used for your glory. Amen.