The hearts of kings are in the hand of the Lord and like the rivulets of water, He turns them whatever way He wills (v. 1). Therefore whatever good offices are done for the church, God must have the glory.
1 Now 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, 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.
6 And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.
7 ¶ Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods;
8 Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.
9 And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives,
10 Thirty basons of gold, silver basons of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand.
11 All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:1 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezra 1:2 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezra 1:3-11 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezra 1 – God’s Promises Fulfilled
God will ever be mindful of His covenant. There were also many remembrancers as Daniel and other like-minded exiles who gave Him no rest and were ever asking Him for David’s sake to bring his people from captivity. See Isaiah 62:6-7. The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, Ezra 1, and the spirits of the people, Ezra 5. How clearly the minds of men are subject to His promptings! May we never be disobedient to the heavenly visions that visit us, but always on the alert to work out with fear and trembling whatsoever He may work in. Whenever we yield to the divine promptings, it is remarkable how everything seems to cooperate with us. The stars in their courses fight for us. All things serve the man who serves Christ. In the present instance, all that were round about strengthened their hands. Cyrus brought forth the vessels of the house of the Lord, which had been in safe-keeping during those years of anarchy and confusion, like the precious manuscripts of Scripture during the Middle Ages. But when they were needed, God brought them out of their hiding-place. Trust in Him; He makes no mistakes. —Through the Bible Day by Day
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1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be __________________, the LORD ______________ up the ____________ of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a ________________________ throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in ______________, saying,
4 And whosoever __________________ in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with ____________, and with ________, and with __________, and with beasts, beside the ________________ offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
5 ¶ Then rose up the __________ of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had ____________, to go up to __________ the house of the LORD which is in __________________.
Ezra 1:1—The LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus.
There were many rays focused on this spot. In the first place, it had been definitely foretold by Jeremiah that the captivity would only last for seventy years. In the next place, Daniel, having learned from comparison of dates that the allotted time had nearly expired, had set himself to pray. Also, if Josephus be credited, the aged prophet had shown the young king the predictions of Isaiah in which his own name was clearly mentioned: “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden… he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 45:1, 13).
God is the fountain-head and source of all spiritual blessing, and of all those great movements for the uplifting and enlightenment of mankind which have swept from time to time over the world. Go to Him when you want to reach the heart of kings, prophets, and people. Oh for the faith of Samuel, Elijah, Daniel, and other stalwart men of God, that through Him we may stir up the spirits of those who will not listen to our appeals! For the fervent prayer of a righteous man still availeth much. In prayer you can touch the spring of all the stirrings that the world needs.
But it is not enough for God to stir men, they must obey. It appears that only a comparatively small number of captive Jews obeyed the Divine stirring and came out of Babylon with the chief of the fathers. The call resounds for volunteers, but only a few respond; the inspiration breathes over us, but only some are susceptible to it. God works to will and to do, but only certain of the children of men work out what He works in. Whenever there is a Divine stirring abroad, let us rise up and go. —Our Daily Homily