God Stirs a Heart
I am a coffee snob. Some of you may roll your eyes, but others will recognize a kindred spirit. Maybe you can relate to some of my life mottos: “No coffee, no workee.” Or, “I only need coffee on days ending with “y.” And, “I would stop drinking coffee, but I am not a quitter.” Each morning, I stir cream in my coffee—the real stuff. Do not give me a chemical facsimile. I will cut corners elsewhere, but for coffee I want cream. It is part of the morning ritual that awakens my senses and rouses me toward productivity.
Ezra 1:1 refers to God stirring a king to make a decision that would benefit God’s people. The Hebrew word translated as stir is to rouse, awake, or incite. God caused King Cyrus of Persia to fulfill a prophecy given by the prophet Jeremiah years earlier. In Ezra 1:5, God stirred the hearts of families and priests to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. Yes, God awakened the senses of a king and a group of exiles to move toward rebuilding a nation.
Those who sensed God’s stirring could have been content to have an emotional moment and go back to life as usual. However, just as stirring cream in my coffee each morning changes the color, texture, and taste, the stirring of the exiles brought change to their lives. The stirring moved them to find a new normal after being away from home for a very long time.
A major theme of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is that God intervenes in our affairs by stirring hearts to action. He roused hope in the hearts of people long separated from their land, their temple, and their public worship. God stirred their hearts to work for the change and restoration they desired.
We may not understand wars and why they happen, but do not forget this: God is concerned about you and your military family. He can stir your family’s hearts to reach for restoration as you journey toward reintegration following deployment.