“...that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled…”--Ezra 1:1
And thus the book of Ezra starts with the strong reality of the unfailing promise of God. Decades before the events recorded in Ezra, God had prophesied through Jeremiah that though his people would be sent into a seventy-year long exile to Babylon for their unfaithfulness, he would fulfill his promise and bring his people back to Jerusalem (Jer 29:10-14). This first verse in Ezra reminds us that God never forgets his word.
If you are like me, you need these continual reminders of God’s unforgotten word. His word never fails. It never falls to the ground; never returns to him without accomplishing what he sent it out to do. God does not forget his promise. Though we might forget, God doesn’t forget. Nations (like a Babylon) can’t alter God’s word. Time (like 70 years) can’t fade it. Death (Jeremiah was in the grave) can’t bury it. God’s word lives on to fulfillment.
Around 2000 years ago God’s incarnate Promise walked the dusty streets of Palestine to visit his people for the purposes of redemption (Luke 1:68). But God’s Promise was not recognized nor generally received (Jn 1:10-11). Rather, he was rejected and exiled to a criminal’s cross outside of Jerusalem. Darkness and death covered the Promise. From the cross God’s Promise would be moved to death’s tomb and the sealed stone set. Individuals and nations, commoners and leaders had once again raised their words above God’s Word. But God’s promise would not fail: “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption” (Ps 16:10). So, on the third day, as promised (1 Cor 15:4) God raised his Promise from the dead! Therefore, in Christ “all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor 1:20).
God keeps his word! Let us trust him. Let the proud doubt; we will believe. Let the scoffers scoff; we will exult! Let time roll, nations rise and fall, history march, even the gates of hell attack; let heaven and earth pass away--God’s word will not fail!
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.