Ezra 1 – 2 … Consider Him Who Stirs Up the Spirit

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom… (1:1).

In one sentence the trajectory of an entire nation is altered. In one sovereign act of Almighty God, history is redirected.

I think about those who were convinced, who had been waiting in faith,  believing His Word spoken through His prophet, Jeremiah. A long wait; seventy years. Were they counting down the final months, days, moments? Waiting is painful and attacks the very core of faith. But to those who wait, in faith, the reward is indescribable.

And surely there were those who doubted, who had given up hoping and had resigned themselves to their fate in captivity.

And worse, there were those who discounted His Word altogether, who scoffed at and hated Jeremiah, who made their plans to put him to death for being so bold as to declare truth.

Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest, nor counsel to the sage, nor the divine word to the prophet! Come on and let us strike at him with our tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words,” (Jeremiah 18:18-23).

When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, “You must die! (Jeremiah 26:8).

But the plots and schemes of man will not stop His Word from being fulfilled.

This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the Lord, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation. 13 I will bring upon that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations, (Jeremiah 25:11-13).

“For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place, (Jeremiah 29:10).

And now it was time. His time. And according to His timetable, He Stirred.

Consider Him Who Stirs Up the Spirit

He Stirred Up the Spirit of the king:

…the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia…(1:1).

  • to fulfill His Word
    • Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia…(1:1).
  • to proclaim His Will
    • so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, (1:1).
  • to acknowledge His Rule
    • “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah,” (1:2).
  • to extend His invitation to join His Work
    •  Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the Lord… (1:3).
  • to declare He is God
    • …the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem, (1:3).
  • to provide His Support
    •  Every survivor, at whatever place he may live, let the men of that place support him with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem, (1:4).
  • to restore the plunder
    • Also King Cyrus brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and put in the house of his gods; and Cyrus, king of Persia, had them brought out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and he counted them out to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah, (1:7).

And He Stirred Up the Spirit of the people:

Then the heads of fathers’ households of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites arose, even everyone whose spirit God had stirred… (1:5).

  • to join in His Work
    • …to go up and rebuild the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, (1:5).
  • to offer encouragement and provisions
    • All those about them encouraged them with articles of silver, with gold, with goods, with cattle and with valuables, aside from all that was given as a freewill offering, (1:6).

How do we respond to Him Who Stirs Up the Spirit?

Who do we relate to in this story?

Are we discounting, or even scoffing at His Truth? Be not deceived; God is not mocked. There is coming a day when He Will Stir Up His Own Spirit.

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch,” (Malachi 4:1).

 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen, (Revelation 1:7).

Scoffing at His Truth is a very dangerous place to be. But still there is hope. If you will humble yourself, accept His Truth and ask Him to Stir Up your Spirit, to draw you to Himself, He has promised to look on you with His favor and to grant you His healing and gift of grace for salvation.

“Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
And where is a place that I may rest?
“For My hand made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord.
“But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word,” (Isaiah 66:1-2)

“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall, (Malachi 4:2).

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8).

And when we have trusted Jesus Christ for our salvation, and we know we belong to Him by faith:

Are we clinging to His Truth in faith, or do we find ourselves giving up on hope, resigning ourselves to this is just the way it is; that things will never change, never get better? Then let us look to Him in faith, to every one of His promises in Scripture; for He will accomplish every letter and every stroke of every promise.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished,” (Matthew 5:17-18).

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

Stir (Rouse): 5782. עוּר ʿûr: I. A verb meaning to stir, to arouse, to awaken. It is used of raising something or someone to action, of agitating someone, of motivating him or her. It is used of stirring oneself to action…
Spirit: 7307. רוּחַ rûaḥ: A feminine noun meaning spirit, wind, breath. The word is used to refer to the Spirit of God or the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord inspired prophets to utter their prophecies…The human spirit and the Spirit of God are closely linked with moral character and moral attributes…The human spirit is sometimes depicted as the seat of emotion, the mind, and the will…

When we closely link ourselves to His Holy Spirit through faith in His Son, we can depend on Him to Stir Up our Spirit. We can trust He will be faithful to raise us to grow and live in faith,  and to convince us, even in the waiting, to believe and hope in His Word.

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope,
(Psalm 130:5).

Because the truth is, in one sentence, in one moment, He will redirect the trajectory of the entire earth.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord, (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done,” (Revelation 22:12 ESV).

Let us live purposely with the end times in mind. May the Lord grow us to become like Jeremiah; proclaiming His Truth. It is up to us to speak His Word.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?… So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, (Romans 10:14-17).

It is up to Him to Stir Up the Spirit.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” (John 6:44).

As we trust His Word, His Will, His Rule and His Work, let us ask Him to Stir Up our Spirit, to live in faith and hope for all He has promised to fulfill in His perfect time. And let us pray for ourselves, and believers everywhere, that we would grow to become like the prophet Jeremiah and the apostle Paul, and join His Work to boldly proclaim the message of His Word, the gospel fulfilled in Jesus Christ, our Savior.

and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, (Ephesians 6:19).

Let’s Grow Together!

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