The book of Ezra opens with a decree from King Cyrus allowing the Jews, who had been taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar, to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Verse 5 says that “everyone whose heart God had moved” prepared to make the journey. Chapter 2 tells us that over 42,000 people committed to returning to Jerusalem and completing the work. These people packed up their families and all they had to commit to following the Lord. Because God first moved their hearts, they moved their bodies.
There may be times in life where we feel God moving our hearts. We feel called to change jobs, go on a mission trip, volunteer for a committee, join a Bible study, etc. During those times we feel as if we, like the Jews journeying to Jerusalem, would pack up and do whatever the Lord asks of us.
However, there are other times when life feels kind of stagnant. We get frustrated because we feel like God has nothing for us to do. Nothing is happening; we’re not moving or being moved. We’re just living our daily lives, same-old, same-old. We long for God to move our hearts, to send us to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, something, anything. We may wonder why God isn’t doing anything with us. It could be that God isn’t doing anything with us because we have neglected to do anything with him. No human king has taken us captive and removed us from Jerusalem, but the devil works daily to take us captive and disconnect us from the Lord. A spiritual distance separates us. We get distracted by responsibilities, vacations, to-do lists, projects, and soon, God no longer has a place in our daily lives. Like the Jews, we feel as if we are miles away from the temple, exiled from the place of God’s presence. The straight-line distance from Babylon, where the Jews were being held, to Jerusalem was around 500 miles. The Jews were physically removed by hundreds of miles from the dwelling place of the Lord. Christ’s death, however, has bridged that gap. Those who have accepted Christ as their savior no longer have to travel hundreds of miles to experience the temple of the Lord because the Lord lives within us. 1 Corinthians 6:19 reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Like the people that Ezra writes about in 538 BC, we are called to rebuild our temples. The Lord wants us to build ourselves spiritually so that we may do his work. God may not be moving our hearts, because our hearts, our temples, are in shambles and too far from him.
How do we rebuild our temples to prepare for what God wants to move us to do? We start with a foundation of God’s word. Reading the Bible daily, meditating on what God has laid on our hearts, and being in constant prayer all help us to build our temples so that the Holy Spirit can dwell within us. Then God will move our hearts to do his will like the exiles who committed to traveling back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple of the Lord. If we want to feel God move our hearts, we must rebuild our temples and open them to the Lord.
Lord, I’m sorry for the disconnection I’ve created by failing to read and meditate on your word. Help me rebuild my spiritual temple so that I can feel you move in my heart and prepare to do your work.