If you read the Bible as the story of Jesus Christ loving, pursuing and rescuing His Bride (Jn 3:16), you will feel the intense pang of being perfectly cherished many times over. And the book of Ezra is one place where that will most certainly happen.
Toward the end of 2 Chronicles, we are at that place in the love story where all seems lost. God’s people have “continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy” (36:16).
None at all? Oh God! The ones God loves have turned away from the One Who Loves, and all seems lost. How can this be made right?
In the last verses of 2 Chronicles, we begin to see how.
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia—in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah—the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia.2 Chronicles 36:22
Here, God shows us again that it is He who pursues. It is He who loves. It is He who sets things right. Judah had turned her face away, but God’s graceful gaze towards His Bride is never broken (Psalm 22:24), though it may seem so for a time (Ps. 22:1).
Our hearts full of this hope, God carries us on to the scribe and priest Ezra’s account of freedom from exile. And of heaven itself. Ezra writes that after Zerubbabel had led “everyone whose spirit God had stirred” out of the captivity of the exiles, the seventh month came. Seven, that beautiful symbol of our forever home God had set out from the beginning (Gen. 2:1-3).
And we whom God loves, formerly dead in the one man Adam, now gathered together as one man to Jerusalem (3:1). We are God’s people made righteous, already ready for heaven through the obedience of the One Man Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:19). Through Jesus, the more perfect descendent of Zerubbabel (Hag 2:23, Matt. 1:12-16). Wonderful Saviour and Guide. He who sets free all who are captive and oppressed (Luke 4:18). He whose wrath is gone forever. Whose love is perfect, in whom there is no fear (1 John 4:18).
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.1 John 3:1