“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12 ESV
In Ezra 1, Cyrus, king of Persia, made a bold declaration:
“The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
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!
Wherever this Jewish remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:2-4 NLT
Cyrus was a pagan king who had conquered the Babylonian empire. Within the first year of his reign, he made a proclamation that the God of heaven, who had given him power over all the nations he now ruled, had appointed him to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem.
Anyone who came from Israel and wanted to return was free to do so. Not only that, those who remained would have to provide silver, gold, and freewill offerings to those who wanted to go.
The word appointed has several layers of meaning that apply in this situation. It means that an individual was chosen to complete a particular task at a specified time and place.
A study of Jewish history will uncover a number of prophecies related to Cyrus’ declaration. Jeremiah, the prophet, had told Israel that after they had been in captivity for 70 years, Babylon would be punished and a new king would rise up over the region (Jeremiah 25:8-23, 29:10-14).
Approximately 150 years before he was born, the prophet Isaiah referred to Cyrus by name as the person who would rebuild the temple at Jerusalem (Isaiah 44:28-45:5).
I want you to spend a moment thinking about how awesome that was: decades before he was born, God had chosen a pagan king to do His work. Can God appoint you to work for Him?
Many times, when God appoints people to do something for Him, they make excuses. Lord, I’m too young. I can’t speak. They won’t listen to me. I’m afraid…
But Cyrus reminds us that God can use you, in fact, God can use anyone even those who refuse to acknowledge Him as God.
God can use you
My friend, God can use you. How do you know that God wants to use you? He created you in His image and has given you a specific purpose. Maybe you don’t know what that exact task is, but in the meantime, you can tell others about Him. As children of God, we have the great honor of partnering with God to accomplish His will. Are you willing to work with Him?
I know how scary it can be when God appoints you to do something: it’s always bigger and harder than anything you can accomplish on your own. But that’s the thing, God doesn’t expect us to accomplish His plan all by ourselves. He empowers us to do so and provides all the resources we need to have it completed.
Will it be easy? No. Will we have challenges? Most definitely. But God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Let us accept God’s appointment and allow Him to use us today.
Lord, You have appointed me to accomplish a great task. It looms in front of me scary and daunting. Help me to remember that You don’t expect me to do it on my own but will provide me with the right resources and help me through it.
Father, forgive me where I’ve expressed reluctance or failed to actively work towards accomplishing Your will. Please send the resources to help you accomplish this task that You have given me for I ask it in Your mighty name, Amen.
Pause for Reflection
- Has God appointed you to accomplish a task? If yes, make note of the task(s).
- What has prevented you from actively working towards what God has asked you to do?
- What is one thing you can do today to begin the work for which the Lord has appointed you?
Other actions you can take: