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Answering the Call of God

Paul Harvey is famous for saying, “And now, the rest of the story.” I realize that dates me but Paul Harvey was beloved by my father. I can still remember him turning up the dial so that the whole car could hear Paul’s commentary on current events. “If I Were The Devil” remains one of my favorite bits from his program.

While we were reading Ezra, and the first part of Nehemiah, there seems to be a dark and dreary scene. Broken walls. Temple in ruins. Carved idols. High places. Compromised leadership. Captivity. Shame. Heartache. Tears. 


The Persian King Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian King Belshazzar in 539 B.C. The Persian rulers were far more benevolent than the Babylonian or the Assyrian oppressors. They were sympathetic to the religious needs of the various people groups they ruled. King Cyrus encouraged all foreigners in Babylon to return to their homelands, set up their gods, and pay their taxes. It would have taken several months to prepare for the journey and several months to make the journey with the young and the elderly. So in 537 B.C. about 50,000 exiles left Babylon to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. This is the rest of the story…


There is hope for Israel! Ezra and Nehemiah answered the call of God. The rest of the story is not about ruin or reproach, but about revival. As you may know, the enemy ridiculed the idea of reviving stones (Nehemiah 4:3). Nehemiah and the people would do just that; and, I might add, in record time (Nehemiah 4:1-6, 6:15). The greatest revival was what really took place in the hearts and minds of those who worked with Nehemiah to rebuild the walls. 


Let me assure you that revival is possible! Our God will help us, as He did Nehemiah (Matthew 19:26, Romans 8:31). As was the case in Nehemiah’s time, revival today must begin in the hearts and the minds of God’s people (I Peter 2:5). If we desire revival in the church, we must consider passages that tell us the terms of revival. II Chronicles 7:14 says, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We must also study great stories of revival.


By following his example, we can do the same today. In each chapter of Ezra and Nehemiah we find another building block that will lead us to growth in God’s kingdom. It took only 52 days to bring revival to God’s people (Nehemiah 6:15). How long will it take to revive the church today? Will you answer the call of God? Have a great week!

You are loved.

Ray Reynolds, PhD

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