Once again we see a display of God's sovereignty. Cyrus was not a Jew, was not a believer, and yet God moved him and worked through him to fulfill prophecy and return the exiled Jews to their homeland. And not only did he allow their return, he provided them with protection, money, and the temple articles that had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar. God's power is not limited to our resources. He can use anyone to accomplish His plans.
I wonder about the Jews who chose to remain in Babylon. The journey back to Jerusalem was definitely difficult, dangerous, expensive, and long. How often do we miss out on God's best for us because we're not willing to do the work or make the sacrifice that God asks of us? Are comfort, security, and material possessions our priorities, or is it serving God in whatever capacity He asks of us?
In our NT passage, I love Paul's reference to Timothy's mother and grandmother. It implies that Timothy's father was not a believer, or was not around. What hope this gives to single parents or those married to unbelievers. Your faith can still have an impact on your children or your grandchildren!
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezra 3-5; 2 Timothy 2