Any of his people among you may go . . . and build the temple of the Lord . . . and may their God be with them. (Ezra 1:3)

QUITE OFTEN, GOD’S INTERVENTION is so profound, his blessing so obvious, that we are humbled by his graciousness. Older adults tend to have this perspective when looking back over their lifetimes, seeing all at once the multitude of blessings that they have accumulated. Grandmas and grandpas measure their wealth in terms of the relationships they have built with their children and grandchildren. Along with the inevitable pain and heartache they have endured, God’s sovereign, intervening hand is evident in the good.

As the book of Ezra opens, we see the children of Israel given such a profound, humbling blessing. Several times, we read that God moves hearts (see Ezra 1:1, 5). The people are commanded to give to the children of God (see v. 4), but they also give freewill offerings (see vv. 4, 6). As exiles and captives, not only are they freed, but they are also recompensed and supported in their going.

The extreme and complete turnaround is the result of God’s intervention. While the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem was and is important, what he desires both then and now is to transform lives. Ultimately, God acts in order to change hearts and to bring about his kingdom. Like the people of Israel, God is calling us. He is moving our hearts toward action, to contributing to the building of his kingdom.

Reflect with thanks on the ways God has intervened in your life.

Dalene Fisher, a wife of twenty-five years and mother of four, is an assistant professor of English at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.