Summary: Do we have to be obedient to God for His will to be accomplished? Far from it. God doesn’t depend on us for anything. Even though we can never expedite or stifle God’s plans, our level of obedience will determine our reward.
1. God uses kings to keep His Word (1-4)
2. God uses His people to keep His Word (5)
3. God uses other people to keep His Word (6)
There are so many questions in life, aren’t there? For at least 3000 years, philosophers have worked on trying to answer only two questions—what is real and how do I know. As Bible-believing Christians, those questions might seem strange. But we have questions too, don’t we? How does God work in the world? How do I fit in to His plans? What if I am disobedient—will that hamper God’s plans? Can I stop God’s will from being accomplished? Those are hard questions. And to answer hard questions, you have to start with what you know. The question has never been whether God would keep His promise. God is always faithful. Years before—even before the exile, God spoke these words to His prophet Jeremiah recorded in Jeremiah 29:10-14: “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” God is personal and He is faithful. He loves His people. He speaks His Word to them. He makes them promises. And He keeps His promises. This Bible consistently attests to that. The fact that God has given us His Word in the first place speaks of His personality. His faithfulness and love are evident on every page. When the Bible is taken at face value, there is absolutely no questioning the faithfulness of God. Just like we just read in Ezra 1:1—“that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled.” So, the question isn’t whether or not God’s Word will be fulfilled. The question is how. Once again, the pages of Scripture consistently reveal how God chooses to fulfill His Word. With people. If you ever look at any of the writings from other world religions, one thing stands out. Many of those writings focus on mystical things—things that don’t involve people at all. God doesn’t work that way. He chooses to work His will through people. Every page of Scripture concerns His relationship with people. Once again, there is no questioning the fact that God chooses to use people to accomplish His will. He is faithful to fulfill His promises and He is going to use people to do it. That’s the what and the how. That leaves us with one more very important question—who? Who is it that God uses to accomplish His Will? As we already read, Ezra opens with the plain declaration that God speaks His Word and what He speaks will be accomplished. All too many times, we think we have to be obedient to God for His will to be accomplished. Tonight’s passage shows us that is far from the truth. God doesn’t depend on us for anything. Make no mistake about it, God’s sovereign will is going to be accomplished whether we’re obedient or not. So where do we fit in? Even though we can never expedite or stifle God’s plans, our level of obedience will determine our reward. Tonight, I want each of us to be the kind of people who receive the reward that God desires us to receive. In order to do that, we’re going to look at three kinds of people God uses to keep His Word. First, God uses kings to keep His Word. Look at verses 1-4