Blood from a Stone
Have you heard the retort, “Getting blood from a stone”? Typically it describes a tight-wad or derelict, someone who may owe you something but will not or cannot repay. Try as you might. Put the squeeze on them, but you will not get anything out of them.
Throughout Jeremiah’s prophecy, he foretold of the people’s return from captivity. There were two major predictions Jeremiah made. First, he predicted the timing of seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10). Ezra 1:1 tells us, “The word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah” was fulfilled following the proclamation of Cyrus the Great. Secondly, the type of return was to be like the release from Egypt (Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:7-8). In what way? When the people were set free from slavery in Egypt, God promised they would receive the riches of the land. The slaves of Egypt left with the treasures of Egypt! The Egyptians gave their treasures to Israel in hopes of appeasing God’s wrath. As the Jews leave Babylon, the treasury of the empire is opened and they leave with the riches of Babylon.
God richly blessed the people when they left Egypt and hundreds of years later as they were leaving Babylon. Notice, believer, when God sends you on a mission, He will send you with His blessing. This is a needed reminder! Whether slaves or the low caste in Babylon, God’s people left according to God’s Word to do God’s Work. Hudson Taylor, a faithful missionary in China, left Great Britain for his mission field often “under-supported” by today’s standards. His motto explains his intensity: “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” He spent 51 years on the mission field depending on God’s supply by faith.
The second application every believer must notice is God’s purpose in blessing. Whether in Exodus or in Ezra, the people were blessed so they could contribute to the work of God. They give back to the Lord so they can have a part in God’s work. Whether it is your treasures, time, or talent, God has blessed you with the resources to accomplish His mission through you. How often we are tempted to staunch the flow of God’s blessing in our life because of our insecurity or indulgence. This ought not to be! God’s blessings have been given to accomplish His purpose. The wealth of the western world may very likely be brought against them at the Judgment Seat of Christ and many will lose much of their reward because they were cul-de-sacs instead of avenues of God’s blessing.
Maybe you fret, “I don’t have much to give.” Ezra 2:69 is a beautiful testimony of God’s expectation, “They gave after their ability.” God expects only what He has given you to steward. He will not squeeze blood out of a stone.