When we follow God’s leading in our lives, we will often encounter challenges and face opposition. The Jews whose hearts God had moved to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple were afraid of the people around them (Ezra 3:3). Yet, despite their fear, they built an altar to God and offered sacrifices on it. They had responded in obedience to God’s call and were prepared to follow His leading in the face of fear. We, too, can experience this kind of courage as we follow God and His plans for us. There is something powerful about knowing that we are doing what God wants that emboldens us to attempt the difficult and even what looks impossible. Besides, as Walt Disney was known to say, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
I don’t usually get very excited about those chapters in the Bible that contain lists of names. In Ezra 2, we find a list of the exiles who returned to Jerusalem. What is significant about this list is that they are the ones who responded in obedience when God moved in their hearts (Ezra 1:5). May we, too, be on God’s list today of those who obey His promptings.
The Israelites languished in captivity until the day when God moved the heart of their captor king, the mighty King Cyrus of Persia (Ezra 1). At the Lord’s prompting, Cyrus proclaimed that the Israelites could return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Not only did God move the king’s heart, he also stirred the hearts of some of the Jews to seize this amazing opportunity.
As a part of God moving his heart, Cyrus instructed the neighbours of those returning to Jerusalem to provide them with silver, gold, goods and livestock. Pretty sweet! However, Cyrus wasn’t finished yet. He also brought out items that a previous king had taken from the temple and gave them to the temple-building entourage.
Through His movement in peoples’ hearts, God opened up a way for the Jews to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
I am so glad that God stirs us and others to action. I am excited about how God might move in my heart and the hearts of those around me today.
Lord, help me to hear your voice. Grant me the courage to act on your nudges. Thank you that when you bring us to something, you will also bring us through it. My life is yours. Amen.