Also King Cyrus brought out the articles of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and put in the house of his gods;Ezra 1:7(NASB)
Throughout history, the Lord has used Gentile nations and pagan kings in forwarding His unfolding plan of redemption. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was used by God to punish His people, Israel, because they broke His covenant, ignored His Law, rebelled against His statutes, and did evil in the sight of the Lord.
During their wilderness wanderings, God made a conditional covenant with His people, whereby obedience would bring them great blessing while disobedience would result in them being cursed.
It was after centuries of disobedience, that the Lord finally judged His rebellious nation. The northern kingdom of Israel had already been judged and carried away by the Assyrians – and now the southern kingdom of Judah was also exiled and taken into slavery in Babylon.
Not only did Nebuchadnezzar destroy the city and the sanctuary with fire, but he carried away the Temple treasures from Jerusalem and put them in the house of his pagan gods.
But God is not mocked, and He used this terrible crime to glorify His holy name. God used certain Persian rulers to fulfil the Word of the Lord, and it was through Jeremiah the prophet, that Daniel realised that God's people would return to the land of Israel after 70 years in exile. Isaiah was another prophet who identified Cyrus by name, as God's special servant who would authorise the return of Jews to the land of Israel, for we read: "Cyrus is My shepherd, who will perform all My desire! He will declare of Jerusalem, 'She will be built,' and of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid.'"
It was in the first year of his reign that the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, so that he sent a written proclamation throughout all his kingdom which said: "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.'"
Praise God that His Word will not return to Him void and that through the act of this pagan Gentile, God's plan of redemption was forwarded and king Cyrus declared that Jerusalem would be rebuilt and decreed that the Holy Temple of God must be restored.
God in His grace also put it in the heart of king Cyrus to return the holy articles that had been plundered from the Temple of the Lord, for we read: "Also king Cyrus brought out the articles of the house of the Lord."
"Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My plan will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'"
Heavenly Father, thank You that the future has been written into Your Word and that by Your grace, we are enabled to see Your plans and purposes being carried out with astonishing precision in the lives of so many kings and nations, peoples, lands, and languages. I pray that You would continue to carry out Your plans and purposes so that at Your appointed time, Christ will return to set up His eternal kingdom, for Your greater praise and glory. In Jesus' name, AMEN.