The people of Israel were stirred after 70 years of captivity. It was a low time and one of humbling them. A lot who went in young were not 70+ years of age. They had hung their harps on the willow trees and were mourning. They knew it happened as chastisement. Students of the Word of God knew it was going to happen and would end. Let’s study the Word today to raise our spirits tomorrow. God wants to raise us up too. David said God set him on a rock. God stirred the spirits of his people, and if ever it was needed again it is now.
Some people love misery. They don’t want to be disturbed. They want to be low key people of God. A pond without an entrance will have stagnant water. You can’t cuff off the flow of God and stay in tune. You’ve got to have an inflow as well as an outflow. Let God in and then let him use you as a channel to let your light shine. Don’t block the inflow. How will we ever encourage the lost to be saved if they see nothing in us they want?
Ezra 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lordby the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. 5 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.
The Lord was working on Nehemiah and he stirred him by stirring King Artaxerxes’ heart. Israel was down in Babylon because of their sin. Seventy years is a generation, and who is it that God has to stir? A heathen. It was their own fault the city of Jerusalem was destroyed. They had drifted from God allowing their zeal for the Lord to cool. They became indifferent and apathetic. They got so worldly minded they were at the point of mixing idolatry with the worship of God. They left God and in their spirits allowed themselves to be overcome. They handed their country over to Babylon by their own actions. Because of this hardness of spirit they were exiled. God will only accept a humble, contrite spirit. They suffered and it was their own fault, not someone else’s, not God’s; it was theirs. Why is it that we always hold others to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. We think we’re okay. Ask God about it. Get the truth from him.
Israel and Judah became more like their enemies and became haughty in spirit. They quick looking to God. Always ask God if what you do is pleasing to him. Do you have a right spirit? Are you right with others? Discouragement gets many people down. We need to put our faith in God completely and he will raise our spirits. An indifferent spirit could care less about how the church is doing. It doesn’t care if you’re studying the Word. Many assume it’s okay. But we must live to please God. Be less afraid of others and more afraid of HIM. When we get the wrong spirit, God will “whip” us. I’ve seen people shout hallelujah in church and be mean as a snake outside. If you have a mean spirit, you need to repent. Take an honest look at yourself. Are you callous? Are you too “churchy” and not enough “Christiany”? The name of this church across your chest will do nothing. Jesus must be in your heart and spirit. We need to gather the dry bones and let God put life in them.
The people of Israel just sauntered around and mumbled over it all. The only one God could stir was a heathen king. Persia was wicked yet God got a hold of the king. If we want God in America again, it has to start in our hearts. Cyrus was so stirred that he made a proclamation in writing. “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.” He asked where are God’s people. “Who is there among you of all his people?” Does the world see God in you? The king agreed to supply everything they needed. Look at verse 4. Underline verse 5. “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.” Who will rise up? They had gotten used to Persia. They liked things. That’s what’s wrong with us. There had to be a rising of the people. First one, then another. When they did, God raised their spirit. Do you need a raising of your spirit today? Do you want one? Let’s do it and see what God can do.