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Summary: A sermon series on the book of Ezra. Some people have a heart that God can move...and other people do not respond to God’s moving.

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Title: The Heart God Moves

Text: Ezra 1:1-11

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Introduction

1.

2. We’ve certainly enjoyed the presence of the Lord in our services…

We see how the Holy Spirit moves and blesses people by their obedience to His voice…

I trust that, as we continue to be obedient to Him…

He will continue to speak to people’s hearts…

Change their lives…

And the church will grow…

3. As I was reading in the book of Ezra the other day…

I had started out just reading for my own personal devotional life…

But, as I began to study, I began to sense that the Lord had a message for His Church in this book.

4. Some of you might remember when I preached a series of sermons in the book of Jeremiah…

Back in the fall of last year…

Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet”…

He was called to prophesy a difficult message during a difficult time, to the children of Israel…

And by and large…they never responded…

And, just as Jeremiah prophesied…

God’s judgment came…

And many people lost their lives…

And the ones that lived…

Just a small remnant…

were carried off into exile…

away from their homes…

many times families were broken up…

and they were separated from their place of worship…

the Temple…

and, the Temple was seen as the place where God dwelled….

So, in that sense, they even felt separated from their God…

5. But, here in Ezra, we see that the judgment has been carried out…

70 years of exile have passed…

And the book of Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of the people being able to return to their homeland…

And they can begin the work of rebuilding the city….

And even more importantly, rebuilding the Temple.

Read Text: Ezra 1:1-11

Body

1. God Moved Cyrus’ Heart

A. verse 1 on of our text tells us that Cyrus made a proclamation throughout his land…

Something that was prophesied in Jeremiah 29:10-14

“This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Isaiah also prophesied about it…

And he mentions Cyrus by name!!

Isaiah 44:28 says, “who says of Cyrus, ’He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please;

he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt,"

and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid."

And again in Isaiah 45:13, “I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the LORD Almighty."

These prophesies were written probably 100 years earlier…

And then, here in the book of Ezra…

We read about the fulfillment of those prophesies.

B. So, Scripture tells us that God moved Cyrus’ heart…

And Cyrus issues this proclamation so that Jerusalem can begin to be restored…

It is fascinating that God is able to use a man who is not following God…

But he seemed willing to be used by God.

Some commentators think that one of the Jews showed this prophesy to Cyrus…

And he was willing to see it fulfilled.

Some commentators think it might have been Ezra…

But others point to Daniel.

In Daniel 6:28, it says,

Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

However it happened…

Cyrus could have had the exact opposite attitude…

“well, so what if God says that…

I won’t do it”…

But, instead, he was willing to be used of God…

Or, I could even say, he was obedient to the moving of the Holy Spirit…

And he set into motion the events so that Jerusalem could be rebuilt.

C. Cyrus not only issued the proclamation…

But he also supported the work financially…

And opened the way for others to support the work financially.

In verse 3, as a part of the proclamation…

Cyrus says, “ANYONE may go”.

So the Lord opened up the way for the entire Jewish people to return to Jerusalem…

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