Take a moment to open this time in prayer. Ask God to bless you as you read and reflect on the text. Read Ezra 1: 1 - 4 At first reading this scripture text may not seem very inspiring or interesting. However, there are some points in the text that I would like to highlight. First, the first verse of Ezra Chapter one tells us that a prophecy of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29: 10 – 11) is being fulfilled which gives us confidence that God does keep his promises. The scripture also tells us that God moved the heart of Cyrus. Cyrus, the first great Persian King, was far from a believer in God. However, God still moved his heart. This lets us know that God can move the heart of anyone and no one is beyond God’s reach. It is also important to see that God uses Cyrus for his purposes. This helps us to understand that God can use any person to fulfill his promises and purpose even people we don’t like. Please use the following questions for more reflection.
The first verse gives proof of a fulfilled prophecy of Jeremiah. How does it help you to understand that God fulfills prophecies? If God fulfills prophecies what else does this tell you about God? Have you ever witnessed a prophecy being fulfilled?
While some Christians may not want to admit it we may think that some people are beyond God’s power to change or influence. What does this text have to say to the thought that some people are beyond God’s reach? Is there someone in your life that you believe is beyond God’s reach? Does this text inspire you to pray for them again?
God used Cyrus to fulfill his purpose. What does it tell us about God that he sometimes uses non-believers to do his work? Has God ever tried to use an unbeliever to help you? Did you accept that help or reject it? Closing - Use the prayer below to end the devotion or close in prayer in your own words. Gracious Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that you are a God who fulfills his promises. God I ask that this truth would lead to a deeper faith in me. Lord, I also thank you that no one is beyond your power or reach. Lord I ask that you reach out to: ______________ and move their heart toward you. God also help me to be open to how you might speak to me and move in my life even from someone who does not know you. Amen.