H - "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: 'Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: Yahweh, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of Yahweh, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem." - Ezra 1:1-3
E - Judah spent 70 years in Babylonian captivity, in accordance with God's word to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:10). Then, suddenly, Persia conquered Babylonia, and king Cyrus immediately sent back the families of Judah to the land of Israel, even offering financial assistance to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. This change of events is historically verified and truly miraculous. God intervened in real life history to bring back the Jewish people to the land of Israel. Cyrus had been prophesied by name over 100 years before as the one who would order Jerusalem to be rebuilt (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1, 13).
A - God can and does intervene in history to provide surprising help to his people. He has a plan and is determined that his plan will be carried out, to the ultimate good of his people. After corporate discipline comes corporate relief and restoration. Help to God's people comes from surprising places.
R - Father, please help your people today in surprising ways. Bless us more than we deserve out of your love for us. May we expect miracles in our lives every day, signs of your overflowing grace towards us. Send us blessing from surpassing places. Also use us as your instruments to bless others in a surprising way. All glory be to you today. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman