September 17 (Daily reading: Ezra 1-3, NIV) God could use prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel to announce that His people would return to Jerusalem after seventy years in exile, but He needed a powerful foreign king to make it happen! “The LORD moved the heart of Cyrus King of Persia to make a proclamation… ‘The LORD, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah’” (1:1-2). Cyrus said it himself; God had made him a powerful man and when he said that something would happen, consider it done. Prophet or king, it was God “moving their heart,” that made things happen. Others were caught up in this heart movement. “Everyone whose heart God had moved prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem” (1:5). The hearts of the neighbors were also moved to finance the project. The king even sent back to Jerusalem the treasures that had been taken from the temple before it was destroyed.
About fifty thousand people returned to Judah. After seven months, and after they had settled in their towns, they rebuilt the altar at the site of the temple and began presenting burnt offerings. Everyone was enthusiastic, and they voluntarily gave lots of money and gifts for the work. Seven months later, they began the temple construction. When the laid the foundation, they sang to the Lord: “He is good; His love to Israel endures forever!” (3:11).
As we read Daniel’s visions of all the things that will take place in the end times, it is easy to believe that it will happen. God is the Master Designer, and men, even kings, are instruments in His hands. He is in the moving business—moving people’s hearts! “He is good” (3:11).
– Al Gary