Ezra 1:1–6, Hebrews 13:9–15
Imagine being one of the children or grandchildren who had only heard of the homeland. Imagine having only the legends to live on. Your family told you of a place where you actually belonged, instead of being an outsider among other outsiders. Even those who had come from the land had probably lost heart that God would restore them (what few of them remained).
Then a declaration from Cyrus was probably first a shock. All of sudden, things were different. For many, it was a sign that God was indeed faithful. For others, sadly, it was more a sign of Cyrus’ manipulation or pity (the cynics). There there was the last group. This group is the ones who cast aside the land and their heritage.
The scriptures don’t really talk about them. Many concern themselves with the “lost” 10 tribes of Israel. Those that returned to the Promised Land didn’t concern themselves with those who remained (too much, rightly, concerned about restoring the people and the land).
Those that remained integrated into Persian society. They had become Persian. They had chosen to set their future in a foreign land. Who knows what the motive was? Was it finances? Was it security? Was it a lack of faith in God? Their motivations and histories can only be guessed.
What we do know is that they succumbed to the world. That is why we need to keep the words in Hebrews in mind. The Hebrews that remained (i.e., became Persian) forgot their place in the world was not set by the world, but by the Creator of the world.
1) Why is important to keep the concept of our “real home” in mind as we walk through this life?
2) What is the danger of keeping our “real home” too much in the forefront on our minds?