September 20, 2023

Let’s Go Back!

Ezra 1:1-6

“Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah.”

—  Ezra 1:3

For many of us today, “home” may not be where we live but where we have roots or a family history. Perhaps it’s where you grew up, or maybe it’s the country your family emigrated from. Having been formed by that “home,” it can be exciting to have an opportunity to go back.

The Jews had spent several generations in exile, far away from their ancestral home. While some had grown accustomed to their new place, memories and stories of Jerusalem continued to tug at the hearts of others. So when an opportunity came through a decree of the ruling king, they responded with enthusiasm and said to one another, “Let’s go back!”

Similar things can happen at times in our spiritual lives. If we are living far away from God, we can grow comfortable with a secular lifestyle. We can get used to doing as we see fit, and we can make poor decisions that lead us into danger or even ruin. But God’s Spirit continues to nudge our hearts, reminding us that we are made for worship and relationship with the one true God.

In Jesus, God has issued the decree that allows wandering and wayward souls to return to fellowship with him. He moves our hearts and provides the circumstances (vv. 5-6) to return to him. If you have become distant from God, why not turn back and be restored to him today?

Holy Spirit, thank you for tugging at our hearts and urging us to return to you. Help us to turn back and be restored in Christ today. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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