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God Speaks to the Heart of the King

Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has a put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to adorn the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. Ezra 7:28.

In the book of Ezra, a remnant choose to return to Jerusalem with their leaders by the approval and support of Cyrus king of Persia to rebuilt the temple.
Before they began, they set up altars and worshipped.
Ezra 3:3 gives why. “They set up the altar on its foundation, for they were terrified because of the peoples of the lands.”

Are you terrified by what is going on in our country? 
More corruption by our leaders is exposed daily. 
Their list keeps growing.
Their disdain for truth and right could easily frighten anyone.

When I researched for writing my books about Judges, I was repulsed by the corruption of God’s people—child sacrifice, all kinds of sexual distortions, everyone did what was right in their own eyes.
And the people, like Gideon, hid just to survive.
I understood why God used a heathen country to judge them. 
They weren’t listening.

America is no different. 
As more America leaders are exposed for child trafficking, among other heinous crimes— we have cause to be afraid.

Those during Ezra’s s time were trying to obey God, to rebuild His temple, but were afraid of those people around them. 
With just cause, they were exposed without walls, an army, or any protection. 
God was their only hope.
He still is.

God repeatedly told the Israelites, "Remember."
Remember what?
Remember what He had done. 
For it was when they forgot, that they sinned. 
Their sin was so bad they couldn’t be distinguished from the pagans who did not even know God.

Can we tell who is a Christian today?
Does what you know about God change how you live?
That was Israel’s problem. 
They were just like everyone else.
They forgot what they should have remembered.
They ignored what was really important.
God brought judgment.
They were taken as slaves to a foreign country by a people more wicked than they.

Now they returned. 
They built the temple.
But they never returned to their past glory. 
When the Israelites finished the temple’s foundation under Ezra's direction, the people gathered to worship and praise God. 
Those old enough to remember the first temple wept (Ezra 3:12-13).
Who wouldn’t—at the shrunken size, the lack of excellent craftsmen, the history of what was?
Their cries intermingled with those who rejoiced and made a loud noise heard far away (Ezra 3:13).

Does anyone today remember our nation’s history, founded on God for His glory?
Those who came here thought gathering and worshipping God was essential—even while their numbers dwindled because of famine and disease.
Who looks now to what God says?

My son’s church consists of people who left Communism lands after meeting in the woods to worship. They came to America for freedom. 
When the virus scare first descended, they were hesitant to meet. 
They know first-hand the cost. Many of their previous leaders were imprisoned and tortured.
Now they meet.
A neighbor reported them.
Police came apologetically “warning them.”
They resolved to meet, though outside following the guidelines of the CA governor.
Our temperatures swell to over 100’ by 11 AM.
This limits those who can’t endure the heat.

Do you weep with those in Ezra? 
Know our history. Know our freedoms are not leaving, but already gone.
How far our nation has come from seeking God and obeying Him!

The book of Ezra parallels our time. 
The people continued to work on the temple.
The leaders were approached by others around them who wanted to help, too (Ezra 4:1-2).
Ezra wouldn't let them.
Wouldn’t that be good?

We have forgotten that being separate from the world means that sometimes we have to do things all by ourselves.
We don’t get others’ approval.
In fact, most things that God wants us to do aren't accepted by the world.
These people went away, resolved to cause problems.

Darkness cannot help the light.
Darkness seeks only to extinguish the light.

And it will.
​If we don’t remain separate.
And not separate for the sake of being separate. There are cults that do that well enough.
We are to be separate unto God. By following Him, we will be different.
Our choices, our dress, our standards will reflect what He wants.

Ezra knew their history.
The harm would creep in slowly and deteriorate the foundation. 
People intermarried with foreigners.
What you love will effect you entire life.
The foreign women taught their children their beliefs, which wasn't about the one true God. 
These men sacrificed their child’s education by giving it to those who do not know God.

Have we done any different?
Who has taught your children?
Do you know what they are teaching? 

Their nation was destroyed. 
They only had a remnant returning.
God continues to tell us, "Be holy, for I am holy." (I Peter . FIND REFERENCE.

The book of Ezra tells of the problems these foreigners caused.
And how God intervened using the king to do it.
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart.” (Ezra 7:27).

Do you know what I find interesting about this verse?
And every other instance in the Bible where God is said to move the ruler’s heart?


It came after His people prayed.

Look at Pharaoh’s change of heart in Exodus.
It came after the people groaned and cried out to God.

Look at King Ahasuerus.
He changed his decree from slaughtering the Jews to allowing them to fight back.
Why? 
Because Esther called a fast for their entire people to pray. 

Look at Nebuchadnezzar.
He had all to gain by making the Jews bow down to him. 
But Daniel prayed.
And Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego prayed.
By their prayers and suffering that tested their prayers, Nebuchadnezzar’s mind was changed and he worshipped God.

Many people believe the November vote will change everything.
Yes, it‘s important to vote. Especially now.

But along with your vote, our country’s future hangs on your prayers.
But they cannot be wishful, pat requests.
God still waits for His remnant to obey Him.
God’s people must separate from the darkness, and obey Him.
 

The book of Ezra ends, not in praise that the temple was built, but repentance because God’s people had sinned while building the temple!
The leaders had already forgotten God. 
They had taken foreign wives. Even as they did God’s work!
These wives did not know God. They turned their husbands’ hearts from the work.*

Ezra prays, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens…” Ezra 9:5-15.

Instead of ending the book in victory of what God had done, the book ends with a list of leaders who had not remained faithful.
That’s not a list I would want to be on!

We can learn from history.
Ezra is a book that reminds us of God’s sovereignty.
He is in charge, in spite of our disobedience and the world’s disdain of His Laws.

Today, we see God directing the hand of President Trump as he exposes our nation’s darkness.
Justice belongs to God Who has given government authority to execute.
Pray for righteous justice.
Pray for our nation’s return to God.

God holds the king’s heart in His hand, 
but He’s also speaking to your heart.
What is He telling you to do?

 

*(Please do not misapply what I’m saying here to say First Lady is a foreigner and therefore Trump has done wrong in marrying her. 
That is not the application I am making here—She is like Ruth and Rahab who have escaped from their own country's evils, in her case Communism, and found the freedom of America, even advocating for infant and children's protection.)


How does Ezra remind you to be faithful?
 

Thank you for the reminder. You hit the nail on the head about our need for prayer and broken-heartedness before God. And it starts with me. It starts with each one of us individually and then also together.

I feel it is very likely Jesus is coming soon. We see the turmoil all around us and wonder if we're prepared for whatever is coming next. But are we ready for heaven is the biggest question of all.

Ezra was a "ready scribe" and had "prepared his heart" to teach the Law of God to the people.

Thank you, Sonya, for being a ready scribe who is willing to teach us how to apply God's Word to our lives.

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I write about what matters...to you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what matters...to Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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