Monday, August 18, 2008


Would you do it if you had the chance – whatever your “it” is? Would you go back to high school and stand up to the bully? Would you make the right choice – now that you know what you know? Would you hug your kids more and shout at them less? Would you take an all-expense paid trip to the homeland of your ancestors? What if the trip included airfare, hotel accommodations and guaranteed job placement once you arrived. Oh, did I mention it involved complete relocation – not just a visit? By the way, this little adventure is being sponsored by the most powerful man in the world, and he’s bankrolling the whole thing. Anyone of your ethnic descent can go. Your family can also accompany you, but each of you can only take one suitcase because the airlines charge extra for a second suitcase! Now, as an added bonus, all your neighbors have pitched in to help with your expenses – at the strong suggestion of the guy bankrolling the expedition. This guy has also –offered to you, from his own private stash, items he stole – excuse me – borrowed from your ancestors seventy years ago. He has asked that when you arrive in your homeland, you build a church and place these items of worship in the church. Sounds easy enough, right? Ready to sign up? Would you do it – if God asked you to?

Ezra 1:2 – “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah…

Ezra 1:3-5 – “Anyone of his people among you--may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem. Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites--everyone whose heart God had moved--prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.

  • You might look at the gargantuan task of moving from Babylon to Jerusalem by camel, and say, “I could never do something like that.” Well, guess what? God didn’t ask you to! He placed you in 2008 and has given you a car (thank you, God!). He’s surrounded you with your own family and friends, and He’s allowed the current joys and challenges you’re facing. The KEY is in v. 5: “…everyone whose heart God had moved….” If God moves our hearts, it’s up to us to get the rest of our anatomy to join the caravan.

Ezra 1:6-11 – “All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings. Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god. Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.

This was the inventory:
gold dishes 30
silver dishes 1,000
silver pans 29
gold bowls 30
matching silver bowls 410
other articles 1,000

In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along when the exiles came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.”

  • When God moves in our hearts to do something, we’ll generally see confirmation all around us. Our efforts will never be problem-free, but we’ll sense a general blessing. There’s a difference. Satan always tries to foil God’s good plan; however, when God’s light shines on our path, darkness must flee.

Lord, it’s easy to become discouraged by small frustrations when I’m a little uncertain about a decision. Help me to weigh Your blessings as gold and Satan’s discouragement as dust.

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