Archive for January 24th, 2014

Ezra 1

Ezra 1 has Cyrus in his first year as ruler as king of Persia.  He has a sense of urgency to fulfill the prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah.  “The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia”.  God can move to stir us up and get us focused on what matters to him.  We have to be willing to allow that to happen by listening for his voice and having enough down time so we could actually be stirred.  Sometimes we are going so fast and doing so much that our schedule wouldn’t allow us to stop and serve God even if He was trying to stir us from within.  We need some margin.

Daniel may well have been an instrument that God used to stir up the king.  He likely showed the king some of the prophecies of Jeremiah, and would have shown him the prophecy from Isaiah 44-45 which mentions him by name some 150 years before he was born.  That would get his attention for certain. Cyrus makes it clear that God “has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem”.  He is connected to God and is on a mission to do what he feels called to.  A calling is a powerful thing.  God calls each of us, we just need to listen for and then heed His call.

So Cyrus makes a decree and says “Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord”.  Not a lot of interpretation needed to what Cyrus asks. If you are one of God’s people, go to Jerusalem and help us build the temple.  God has given Cyrus “all the kingdoms of the earth”.  He isn’t lacking resources, but he wants people with purpose to come home and help build God’s house.

Unfortunately only a small number return, which aligns with what God had said, that only a remnant would return from exile.  But “everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord” took off and headed for Jerusalem. This wasn’t a simple decision, as the journey for most was long and dangerous, and they were heading back to a total disaster as the city had been destroyed and the walls knocked down.  Cyrus has the spoils of Nebuchadnezzar brought out and carried back to Jerusalem.  There was much work to do, but the project is begun.

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