Raised Up By God

In every generation and in every circumstance, God raises up those who will respond to His call and do His will. Sometimes He uses the testimony of just one individual to do His work and fulfill His promises—like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, and so many others who stood virtually alone for God.

In most instances, however, while God raises up certain ones to be leaders, a faithful remnant will also respond to the needs and challenges of the moment and receive strength and encouragement from each other as they seek to serve the Lord acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Heb. 12:28).

The rapid deterioration of the church and society at large tends to make believers feel that the situation is hopeless. Thus, many have become careless or discouraged. But notice Ezra 1:1-5, for this text reveals the miracle that God worked in the heart of a heathen king, Cyrus, whose proclamation opened the door for the return to Jerusalem of a faithful remnant of God’s people who had been in a seemingly hopeless captivity for seventy years. Who could possibly have imagined such a thing!

However, God never makes a promise He cannot or will not keep. He is the Almighty God, our heavenly Father, and no matter how impossible our situation may appear to be at any given moment, our God cannot lie, and He will always perform His Word to the very letter. The faithful remnant of workers were soon to discover how God could use their feeble efforts to accomplish His purposes for an entire nation.

It is important to note that the faithful remnant who returned to Jerusalem to do God’s work were those “whose spirit God had raised” (Ezra 1:5). The invitation and challenge given by King Cyrus might have attracted those with an adventurous spirit, but the work God had for them could not have been performed by anyone except those whose motivation was the result of God’s work in their hearts. Human wisdom and skills can often be used by God’s workmen, but these alone cannot meet the stress and strain of the real battle that puts God’s servants into conflict with satanic “principalities” and “powers” (Eph. 6:11-12).

In our day, Christians tend to be overawed by the enormity of work God has called them to do rather than standing in awe of the Lord and His Word (Psa. 119:161). Let us praise God for His call, which is also His enablement.

— Pastor M. H. Reynolds Jr. (1999)