God Moves

Vol. 8-11 – 03-12-2023 – God Moves

Moving the Heart

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, , that the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: –Ezra 1:1

Have you ever spent time wondering why the “good guys” seem to be losing? We read the internet clips that declare the attacks on religious and personal freedoms, the destruction of family and values, dramatic increases in crime, that the church’s demise is undeniable, etc.

And we fret that it might be true. And culture pushes tolerance, except for the believers in Almighty God; they are intolerable, claim the unchurched.

When you get discouraged, do you feel that God is not aware, or is just absent from all these struggles? How do you get back into the mode of hope and encouragement? Start by picking up, and dusting off, your Bible.

Back in the first week of January, you were most likely encouraged by your church pastor to once again read through your Bible in 2023. Wait, you say, I did not get through the Bible in 2022. Has anyone said it only takes 15-20 minutes a day to read the Bible?

I reminded our Sr. Community Groups during a Sunday breakfast that the Scriptures have an uncanny way of addressing life urgently and concisely as we read the Bible through. In our teaching time, I pointed to Scriptures already read and pointed out how much they affected our lives—directly and on time.

God’s “hand” is a governing hand (hand of oversight) in every season of life. His Word is always true; never untrue.

Ezra presents the outcomes His people would experience for their rejection of God—for their abominations toward Him; it would come through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:9-11). Hearing the prophecy, they refused to repent. Strange, people will not repent when offered the opportunity.

So, God does what He promised.

God moves in the heart of Cyrus, a pagan king, to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem; for the God he did not believe in. What! Why? So that God demonstrates His power. It gets better.

The king summons the Jews and permits them to return to Jerusalem. He finances the effort. He finances the rebuilding of the Temple. God more than works in the heart of Cyrus, He moves the hearts of the Israelites—the ones that were not having anything to do with God.

Those with hearts moved prepared to travel and to build. Think about the outcome here. Think about it alongside a familiar set of verses, Jeremiah 29:11-14a.

  1. God has His plan for our world; He is immutable
  2. God can move the hardest of hearts to perform His will
  3. God designs humans to be an important part of His plan, should they choose
  4. God loves us in all our frailty and flawed hearts
  5. God does not deviate from His plan for heaven or earth


And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night. –Nehemiah 4:9

Is there a difference between faith and action? They are interrelated. We have a security system at our home. Do we visit a doctor? Yes. Do we buy auto/home insurance? Yes.

Does this all beg the question: Do we trust God? Yes. God does give us common sense.

Not too many years ago a Christian friend told me that if I had enough faith, I would be able to hear and not wear hearing aids. After all, God was the healer. I commented to him that God provided the doctors the ability to get training and offer the skills of healing that He planned for our world. My friend said I had a lack of trust.

My friend was involved in an accident and spent almost two weeks in a hospital. I wanted to ask him if he did not have enough faith to have healing without being carried off to the hospital. Discussions of faith are delicate matters. One of the negatives for approaching faith the way my friend did is to put one’s comments into a place where they are deciding what God’s Holy Spirit will do. That is not the case.

The verse from Nehemiah alludes to this question. Why would you set a guard as protection, day and night, if you have prayed?

Nehemiah, a former cupbearer to the king of Shushan, was given permission to go back and oversee the rebuilding of the walls at Jerusalem. Walls were extremely important. They only permitted those who were not enemies to come into the city. Some countries today protect their countries with a wall or fence arrangement, having limited access and guards that protect them day and night.

As Nehemiah was giving oversight, he was given knowledge of enemies planning to murder workers rebuilding the wall. Was God aware? Yes. Did God tell Nehemiah to not worry, and to go ahead with the rebuilding? No. God could have done that. He did not. What was Nehemiah to do? Just trust God, or take steps to defend the workers?

Faith tells Nehemiah that since God called him to this work, God is obligated to protect him. Yet there is an element of fear. Fear tells him the enemy is strong. In his faith, he prays to Almighty God. In his fear for the lives of his workers, he provides protection. Both are elements, and outcomes of his faith.

Life Application

When we demonstrate our faith, prayer is a prerequisite. In the greatest parts of our lives, prayer leads to taking sensible steps that God has already the informer for us through His Word, the Scriptures. Unfortunately, too often believers fail to pray until they have made a mess of what they know well to do.

In his faith, Nehemiah encourages his workers: Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes (Nehemiah 4:14b).

What are we to do? Pray and labor. Trust and act. Labor and rest. For you have someone to give you rest, the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray. Seek God’s wisdom. Respond in Faith. Trust. Rest in Him.

To what degree do you lean—through faith or from anxiety? God shows you what always better.

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