7 “Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god.”
Ezra 1:7 (NIV)
There's a right way and a wrong way to do business. This applies to sport. This applies to life. This applies to our relationship with God.
In sport, would you ever think of stealing someone else's trophies, taking off the nameplates and installing other ones that point to accomplishments you didn't earn? I doubt it.
Misleading others to believe you've done something special is bad business. Still, we find subtle ways to do this very thing when we don't trust God for our success, our significance and our status among others.
In today's Scripture we find the story of two world-class monarchs: King Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon) and King Cyrus (Persia). Neb conquered Israel and took all the articles that belonged to the true and living God and deposited them in his own temple to elevate his own status before others.
Apparently being the greatest ruler in the world in his day wasn't enough. He “stole trophies and changed the nameplates” -- 5,400 of them, to be exact (see Ezra 1:11).
Sometime later, the Persians conquered the Babylonians. In the process, the conquering King Cyrus discovered that Nebuchadnezzar had raped the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, “relocating trophies and changing nameplates.”
Once Big C became aware of the travesty, he returned the trophies to their proper place and honored the God they represented. That's the right way to do business.
How are you doing business?
BANKRUPT IN BUILDING? Have you taken from others without permission, relabeling and plagiarizing as your own with no credit given? It's fast and easy. Building your image based on others' success is the Neb way, the wrong way.
Don't expect to have God's blessing on doing business this way.
BRINGING BACK THE FUNDAMENTALS? The Cyrus way of building resets everything back to the fundamentals of fairness, justice, respect, humility, thankfulness and obedience to everything that is good and right.
BELONGING TO THE LORD? Cyrus began his kingdom (built his team/his business) around establishing what belongs to the Lord first. He didn't just build a little place for the LORD. He built it big. He built it right. He built it well and stocked it full.
Reflect: See any takeaways in how you need to operate? Are you good at identifying what belongs to the Lord and giving it all to Him? Any building resets need to be made in you?
A prayer to consider: LORD, help me to give You all that You deserve, sparing nothing, no shortcuts. Don't let me rob You of all that You deserve. Stop me dead in my tracks if I make moves like this. You deserve the best, my best! Amen.