6/22 Ezra 1:5

5 Then rose up the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem.

The prophet Jeremiah had predicted the captivity would last for 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10). Persia conquered Babylon. At the end of the 70 years, the Persian king Cyrus issued a decree for all who desired to return and to give offerings to finance and labor to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. God had promised centuries earlier that when they forsook Him and went into exile, if they would return to Him and seek Him, then He would bring them back to the land (Deuteronomy 30:1-5).

The northern tribes had been integrated into other cultures, but the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi had clung to the promises and longed to return. It was in answer to their prayers and the faithfulness of God to keep His word that the decree went out.

Not everyone returned at once. God stirred the hearts of those He chose to rebuild the temple. Some had grown successful in their exile and had no desire to leave. It is the same today with the church, the people of God. Some long to see the temple of living stones grow and be completed, while others are content with success in this world. God stirs the hearts of some to be evangelists and pastors and teachers that the temple might be built up of living stones. Some would return at a later time, and some families would return even hundreds of years after the edict. Everything must be in God's time.

Consider: Is God stirring your heart? How can you help to build the temple of living stones today? It may be to build a friendship with a neighbor to earn the opportunity to share your story and lead them to Christ. It may be to disciple a young believer, or to hold up the weary arms of some servant of the Lord. When God stirs you in a specific direction, respond with your whole heart.