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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: July 31st
“Turn again our captivity.”
About this time the seventy weeks of the prophet were complete, and the time had come for the return from captivity; the Lord therefore raised up Cyrus, and moved his heart to set his people free, and help them to go back to Jerusalem. Of this we have already learned in our last lesson, and therefore let us read those psalms in which the feelings of the returning exiles are set forth.
Psalms 85:1 , Psalms 85:2
All goes well when sin is pardoned. This is the one fatal hindrance to prosperity; and, this removed, all is well.
Psalms 85:3 , Psalms 85:4
When God turns to us in love, it is high time that we turned to him in faith and repentance; and, indeed, we very soon do so. Love is the great converting force: when the love of Jesus turns us, we are turned indeed.
This it is our privilege to see fulfilled in the atonement of the Lord Jesus, by which our captivity is turned, and peace is made between God and our souls.
Earth looks up in sincerity, and heaven looks down in mercy.
Psalms 85:12 , Psalms 85:13
Re-established in their land, which was made fruitful once again, they desired to obey the Lord in all things and to follow closely the path of obedience.
We can imagine the restored exiles at this time singing Psalms 126.
It seemed too good to be true, they could not realise that so good a thing had befallen them.
Psalms 126:2 , Psalms 126:3
What others declared concerning them was true, and they boldly avowed it; they did not bury the Lord’s mercies in forgetfulness, or cast doubts upon them by mock modesty. We too often say “We hope and we trust,” when we ought rather to say, “The Lord hath done great things for us.”
When God revealed his gracious name
And changed our mournful state,
The rapture seem’d a pleasing dream,
The grace appeared so great.
“Great is the work,” my neighbours cried,
And own’d the power divine;
“Great is the work,” my heart replied,
“And be the glory thine.”
The Lord can clear the darkest skies,
Can give us day for night;
Make drops of sacred sorrow rise
To rivers of delight.
“He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.”
There was a spirit of unity among the returned exiles, and a warm love to the worship of God, and therefore as soon as they had made such arrangements as were absolutely needed for their own living, they met to consult concerning the rebuilding of the temple. Things will be sure to go well with the cause of God when all the people are as one man.
Atonement for sin must be presented, and thanks must be rendered. The Lord’s people love the altar of sacrifice.
And they set the altar upon his bases or upon its former foundation
Ezra 3:4 , Ezra 3:5
Though but few and poor, they were very earnest, and very careful to do as the law commanded them. In this they are our teachers.
They were probably the best educated men and the fittest for overseeing the work.
It was an honour to these men to have their names recorded, and it will be equally honourable to us if we do anything for the church of God.
Ezra 3:10 , Ezra 3:11
The laying of the foundation was celebrated with much sacred pomp and praising of the Lord. Who will not be glad when the Lord’s temple is being builded?
Ezra 3:12 , Ezra 3:13
It was a noble structure; but for the size and costliness of the stones, and the preciousness of the metals, it was far inferior to Solomon’s. Moreover, it had not the ark, nor the Shechinah light, nor the Urim and Thummim. In all that we do for God we shall see cause to mingle regret with rejoicing; we serve the Lord with gladness, but we sorrow that we serve him so ill. May the blood of Jesus cleanse our holy things.
the Fifth Week after Easter
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