Ezra 1-2, John 19:23-42 • Key Verses: Ezra 1:5-6
The morning newspaper is not typically encouraging reading for the start of the day, and neither
is the evening news for the end of the day! Yet sprinkled among the stories of crimes and severe
weather are bits and pieces of encouragement. Sometimes we can read the repeated stories of
failure by God's people and miss the words telling of their successes. The Book of Ezra begins
with an encouraging note.
God was at work not only in the hearts of His people but also in the heart of the king. Cyrus was
moved to do what would fulfill the Word of the Lord. He decided to send back to Jerusalem
some of the people living in captivity so the temple of God could be rebuilt. God at work in the
events of man is an encouragement!
He was at work also in the hearts of His own people, moving them to go and build the temple.
The king was making it possible, but he needed workers who were willing to make the journey
and do the work. Again, it is encouraging to see God at work, this time in the hearts of His
One other encouraging note here. As the workers prepared to go, their neighbors assisted them
by providing silver and gold, goods and livestock, and valuable gifts (v. 6). Gyrus would also
send along things taken from the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, but what an encouragement that
people would give what they had to help.
Be encouraged as you see God at work. Look for examples and thank Him for the evidence that
people are responding to the moving of His Spirit. Also, be an encourager. You may be able to
help—financially, physically, spiritually or emotionally—someone who is serving God.
Woodrow Kroll & Tony Beckett