Ezra and the Proclamation

Chapter One

Dearest Reader,

We were introduced to Ezra the Scribe last week. Today, open the pages to Ezra, Chapter One. Join me on this journey through Ezra and Nehemiah.

Think of it as a treasure hunt!

Ezra and the Proclamation begin by overlapping the words Ezra penned in the last two verses of 2Chronicals, chapter 36:1-2.

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:

Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.'” Ezra 1:1-2 (ESV)

The Background

Jerusalem now destroyed; the people carried off to Babylon and living in exile for seventy years. The Temple of the Lord, a heap of rubble, lying in ruins.

But God stirs hearts!

God stirs the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia. Cyrus issued a proclamation stating God charged him to build a house at Jerusalem.

Jeremiah prophesied this very event in Jeremiah 29: 10-14 

“For thus says the Lord: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.'” (ESV)

Ezra and the proclamation start with a stirring of the heart. 

To begin with, God stirs the king’s heart. Cyrus, a pagan leader, compelled on behalf of the Jewish people.

In addition to stirring Ezra’s heart, God also stirs the hearts of his people.

“Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:5 (ESV)

What does this have to do with us today? 

This passage of Scripture affirms to us that God has a plan.

God’s plans are not on our timeline but His.

I admit I am impatient while waiting. It’s difficult to believe in God’s good plan when twenty years have passed, and I don’t see any movement. Imagine being exiled to a foreign nation for seventy years.

And then, imagine the pounding of your heart when you see God moving on your behalf!

Lord, help my unbelief in the waiting.Give me faith in what I perceive to be unanswered prayers. 

Next, we see God stirs hearts.

God can, does, and will use whoever and whatever he needs to move and compel us into action. The question is this:

  • Are we in tune enough to the Word of God, the Voice of God, to hear his stirring?
  • When we hear or sense his stirring, are we obedient to follow through? 

Lord, give me a heart of flesh and stir your Spirit in me to follow you. 

In conclusion, where and how do we see the character of God in Ezra, chapter one? 

God is reliable; he does what he says he’s going to do. 

In Jeremiah’s prophecy, God told the people he would bring them back to Jerusalem. Did he say right this moment or yesterday, or when you want? No. Did God say that it would be without conflict and complications? No.

But did he do what he said he was going to do? YES!

You can count on God to do as he says he will. However, our expectations look differently than his.

God’s reliability and his dependability have nothing to do with meeting our expectations. Instead, it is to show his power and glory through and in our circumstances.

Most times, it will come in unexpected ways.

Lord, open my eyes to see you in the unexepected. Open my heart to see your brief moments of grace. 

It is beautiful and humbling when we set aside our desires for God’s. Bold faith waits and trusts in the waiting. The peace that passes all understanding is knowing that God does what he says he is going to do, even when it looks different than our expectations.

You, O God, are more exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever expect.

You are our refuge and our fortress, our God in whom we trust. 

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,and his greatness is unsearchable.
Psalm 145:3 (ESV)

I am here to encourage you, equip you, and guide you as you redefine your wilderness. You can comment below or send a private email to tlmashburn@yahoo.com.

Your Wilderness Guide,

 

PS: Catch my in-depth teaching: What We Have In Common With the Disciples from Mark 8!!

If you have been following my Instagram Stories, by now, you’ve heard about the H.E.A.R. Method and H.E.A.R. Journal. I would love to have you join me on this journey. The H.E.A.R. Method of studying the Bible has taken me more in-depth than ever before! If you would like to learn more email me at tlmashburn@yahoo.com 

PS: My first book, Mornings In The Word, is available now. Order your copy today.

“There is no space to live well or love well, much less pursue the God who created us to be in fellowship with Him. We close the gap between what we need and what we want with more. Our spinning lives and broken hearts are empty while appearing full. We paste a smile on our face and tell anyone who asks we are okay while inside we are shattering a million different ways.” -Mornings In The Word