In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and put it in writing:

This is what Cyrus king of Persia says, "The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build a temple for Him at Jerusalem in Judah"

Ezra 1:1-2, NIV 

 

Thus begins the book of Ezra, and thus ends the seventy year exile of the people of God. The Israelites in Judah had disobeyed God, so He destroyed them excepting for a small remnant which He had carried away into Babylonian captivity. Now the punishment is over and God has a plan to return them to their country and restore them as His chosen people. 

 

Part of that plan included the rebuilding of the temple in order that they might worship Him in His prescribed way, but there was a problem: The ragged band of exiles had no money to build the magnificent structure that was required. So God had a solution: He simply had the most powerful man in the most powerful nation on earth provide everything needed to construct the temple.

 

That's where the reading above comes in: God "moved the heart" of King Cyrus, and King Cyrus obeyed.

 

So what is the point? It's a nice story, but what does it have to do with us and why do we even need to be reading and thinking about something that happened over 2,000 years ago anyway? The point, I believe, is simply this: When God moves our heart to do something, we need to obey.

 

Now, I know that many people will abuse this concept to the point of absurdity. They will think that every stray thought that comes into their head is a "message from God". Or, even worse, they will think that every time something happens to them that might seem to allow them to go in a direction that they wanted to go in the first place, that it is God "moving their heart." Since this concept has so much potential to be abused, let me be clear as to how I believe that God "moves our hearts" today: It is through His word!

 

By that I mean that God has put His word, the Bible, in such a way as to move our hearts to do His will. We read of His righteous commandments, and our hearts are moved to obey. We read of the things He has revealed are sin, and are hearts are moved to repent. He reveals the things the way that we need to live and act around our fellow man, and our hearts are moved to live and act that way.

 

Does God "move our hearts" today? After reading His holy Word, can you honestly say He does not? 

 

Why not let God move your heart by reading His word today? You will be glad you did!

 

"If you love Me, you will obey what I command... Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him... If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me."

John 14:15, 21, 23-24, NIV 

 

Do these words not move your heart? Then you must obey!

 

Today is the first day of the thirty day challenge to read through the Old Testament section of the books of wisdom, with today's reading consisting of the book of Ezra. May God richly bless your efforts as you allow Him to move your heart through His word!