“everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord” Ezra 1:5
After all the Christmas festivities are over, many of us turn our thoughts to the coming year, reflecting on where the last year has brought us and where we hope the next will take us.
Those reflections sometimes come with pain or regret over mistakes made, or trying circumstances unchanged. The prospect of starting a new year sparks fresh hope and expectancy, ‘maybe this year.’
Then, as we return to our routines in January, with every intention of approaching the new year with fresh eyes and renewed vision, we start to find that everything is the same as it was when we left it in December: same demanding boss, same spiritual battles, same financial problems, same health issues or chronic pain, same obstacles, same to-do list, same, same, same!
Seventy Years in Captivity
I wonder if this is how the Israelites felt, year after year in their seventy long years of captivity in Babylon Did they think, ‘maybe this year’? Finally, one incredible day, King Cyrus released them to return to their homeland in Judah, to rebuild God’s temple. (Ezra 1:2–3). Seventy years. That’s a lifetime! (You can read the story in Ezra 1:1-3)
“Everyone whose spirit God had stirred”
“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
Those words seemed to leap right off the page as I read them. There was a group among these people, these beloved ones of God who had been in captivity for so long, that had not let their hearts become hardened to the Spirit of God, or their spiritual ears dulled to His voice.
These people were in a position to be stirred by His Spirit when the time came and they moved into action.
Be found ready to be stirred and to move!
If your life feels ‘same old same old’ today, take encouragement from the truth that your life is not all about you anymore. When you became Jesus’ disciple you made the choice to lay down your life and follow the One who laid down His life for you.
We are ambassadors of His Kingdom. What a privilege and honour! Yet we so easily lose sight of this in the hum-drum of the daily, same-old-same-old, grind. We set for ourselves New Year resolutions that have nothing to do with God or His Kingdom purposes, and then when we fail to carry these out we become discouraged.
Our hearts can so easily become dull and hardened to His voice, His prompting and stirring.
Today, even if not much seems to have changed from last year, let us be found among the ones whose spirits are continuously stirred to partner with Jesus.