Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow

Ezra 1:1,5
P.G. Mathew | Sunday, January 13, 2002
Copyright © 2002, P.G. Mathew

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing . . . Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites-everyone whose heart God had moved-prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.

Ezra 1:1, 5

Many modern Christians who have made the confession, “Jesus is Lord,” have then elevated autonomy to the highest level of spirituality. This is not the true nature of Christianity. Christians are called to deny themselves, take up the cross, and follow Jesus Christ. In this study we see that when God leads his people, they will follow him. This doctrine is called irresistible grace. If you are not following him, he is not leading you. It is that simple. I hope you will pray to God, “O God, lead me; I will follow.”

We have a big God, as we read in the Westminster Confession of Faith: “There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection” (WCF, Chapter 2, section 1). All idols are lies, according to God’s word. Isaiah calls them “know-nothings.” This only true God, whom we serve, is sovereign over creation, history, and redemption. No one can block him from doing what he pleases and what he has ordained. All angels and men do what God pleases on their own volition and free will. He alone guides history to his desired end. Billions of angels and people do all sorts of things, yet, in the end, they will have all done what God wanted them to do. In the end, God always wins, and his enemies are utterly defeated.

Therefore, we are not afraid or anxious but confident in our God. I hope this is true of you also. If you are afraid, anxious, miserable, and confused, I pray that you will understand the sovereignty of our God and put your trust in him. We want to study three points from Ezra 1:1, 5-The Lord promises; the Lord fulfills; and the Lord saves.

God Makes a Promise

God promised to save his people at the point of their fall. In Genesis 3:15 God promised to save his people through the seed of the woman. From that point on, God guided history to bring this salvation to pass. In Genesis 12 and 15 God called Abraham and promised that his salvation would come through Abraham’s offspring. Then God called forth the nation Israel from Abraham. Later, he called forth King David, a descendant of Abraham, and promised to give him an everlasting kingdom.

Yet the Davidic kingdom came to an end in 586 B.C. when the temple was destroyed and Israel went into exile. The people of God were not saved and, in fact, they became slaves of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. However, God made a promise to deliver them, which we read in Isaiah 44:24-28. In this promise we see God’s sovereignty over creation, history, and redemption:

This is what the Lord says-your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,” of the towns of Judah, “They shall be built,’ and of their ruins, “I will restore them,” who says to the watery deep, “Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,” who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”

This prophecy was given by Isaiah in the eighth century, two hundred years before the events of Ezra 1:1 fulfilled it. Only God can foretell the future, because he is sovereign over history. Here God names a man, Cyrus, and Isaiah says that Cyrus will be the one to deliver God’s people from Babylon. Continuing in Isaiah 45, God tells more of what Cyrus, whom he calls his shepherd, will do. In verses 1-5 we read,

This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me. . . .

Literally, these things happened in the life of Cyrus. When God speaks of treasures of darkness, we must remember that Cyrus was the one who conquered Anatolia, which is modern Turkey, and defeated Croesus, the king of Lydia, and plundered his huge storehouse of gold. But, note also, Cyrus was a pagan who did not acknowledge the Lord, a polytheist, but he was the instrument God ordained to accomplish his purposes.

In Isaiah 45:13 God continues, “I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free.” God raised up Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem, according to God’s plan.

All this was prophesied two hundred years before it was fulfilled. Can any gods make such predictions except the true and living God? Isaiah spoke of Cyrus, who was yet to be born. This is true prophecy. As I said, our God alone calls the end from the beginning. He never studies history; he ordains it.

We find another man in the Bible who was named by God three hundred years before he was born. In 1 Kings 13 God speaks of a future king of the house of David named Josiah, who would destroy the altar of the northern kingdom. This literally happened, as we read in 2 Kings 23.

God’s Promises of Deliverance and Restoration

God promised through Isaiah the prophet to save his people. Not only that, he promised also through the prophecy of Jeremiah, which is particularly referred to in Ezra 1.

In Jeremiah 25:11-12 we find a promise God gave his people in 605 B.C. when they were about to go to Babylon. Even though the people were about to go into exile, God made a promise to deliver them in seventy years, as we read in Jeremiah 25:11-12, “‘This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will make it desolate forever.'”

We find another reference to this promise of God in Jeremiah 29. In verses 10-11 we read, “This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

God has a plan and purpose to which every angel, every man, and every nation will have to conform. What is that plan? Is it getting you into medical school and giving you a big house and a beautiful wife and two children? No, this verse is not speaking about such temporal issues. In the final analysis, God’s purpose is to save those who believe in him.

In verse 12 God continues, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This is an important principle: God’s people will seek him and find him. If you have not sought him, you are not his people. It is very simple. If you do not love God, you are not his people. God concludes, “‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'”

In Jeremiah 50 and 51 we read of the utter destruction of Babylon. In those chapters we also find a prophecy of deliverance of God’s people from Babylon. Thus, in Jeremiah 50:3 we read, “A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land.” In verse 9 we read, “For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north.” In verse 41 we read, “Look! An army is coming from the north; a great nation and many kings are being stirred up from the ends of the earth.” God is telling Babylon that he is going to bring an enemy from the north, Cyrus, who would deal with Babylon and destroy it. Our God makes things happen, and no one stops him or asks him why. He alone is independent and sovereign over all things.

In Jeremiah 50:4,5 we find a wonderful prophecy which was fulfilled in Ezra 1, after Cyrus defeated Babylon. In verse 4 we read, “‘In those days, at that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God.'” These are tears of joy, not sorrow. When you trust in Christ as a result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, you will experience great joy. You have come out of bondage into the glorious liberty of the children of God! In verse 5 we read, “‘They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.'” This is speaking about covenant loyalty.

In Jeremiah 50:19-20 we read, “‘But I will bring Israel back to his own pasture and he will graze on Carmel and Bashan; his appetite will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead. In those days, at that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘search will be made for Israel’s guilt but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.'”

How does God accomplish all these things? In Jeremiah 50:34 we read, “Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon.” As we said, our God is a big God. It is he who will give “rest to their land.” He gives the rest of salvation to those of us who are his people. This is what Jesus spoke of when he said, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Studying the Promises of God

Thus God promised through his prophets, especially Isaiah and Jeremiah, to redeem his people from Babylon. In Daniel 9 we find a prayer that Daniel prayed in 539 B.C., the same year Cyrus conquered Babylon. In Daniel 9:1-3 we read, “In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom-in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.”

Prophecy is given to us so that we can study it. As we read in other places in the book of Daniel, God spoke to Daniel in dreams and visions. But God also spoke to Daniel through the Scriptures. The Bible tells us Daniel prayed three times a day and we can assume that he also read the Scriptures during those times. Daniel was a great student of Scripture.

Many evangelical Christians refuse to look into the Book and study it. I pray that we will not be ignorant, emotional, and autonomous, but that we will be strong students of the Scriptures, like Daniel was. Daniel learned from the Scriptures about the prophecy Jeremiah made in 605 B.C. In 539 he began to pray, as he realized the time for the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy was near. We don’t know whether Daniel himself ever returned to Jerusalem, but he was made strong by God’s word as he studied about the return of the exiles.

In Romans 15:4 we read, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” We need to put something into our heads-something other than psychology, philosophy, sociology, and other human ideas. From Scriptures alone we will receive encouragement and hope.

God Fulfills His Promises

The second point is that the Lord who makes promises also fulfills them and he does so through the ordinary means of history.

God speaks to his people in many different ways, including through dreams, visions, angels, miracles, and theophanies or Christophanies. The amazing thing we note in the book of Ezra is that none of these activities are mentioned. But we do find God acting through the ordinary processes of history, just like he is doing today. God is the one who guides history.

We are a people who are interested in visual or tactile experiences to convince us of God’s working. We want to see something that will make our eyes come out of their sockets. We look for goose bumps or shrieking or similar experiences. We are impressed by such phenomena.

But when we study Ezra, we find no mention of such happenings. We read about ordinary historical events, and yet God was working. Do you know that God will work in your life without jerking you up and down? We tend to despise ordinary history. God is the Lord of history who guides it to his saving purpose.

So in Ezra 1:1 we read, “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing. . . .”

This was ordinary work. Notice, the Lord who promised liberation for his people through Isaiah and Jeremiah now was fulfilling his promise. He did so by taking the initiative to stir and move the heart, mind, will, and emotions of King Cyrus of Persia in 538 B.C.

God’s Work Through Cyrus

Who was Cyrus? Two hundred years earlier, Isaiah prophesied about him, calling him by name and saying what he was going to accomplish long before he was born. Cyrus was probably a teenager living in the city of Anshan in the Persian Gulf region in 586 when the temple was destroyed. God raised Cyrus up, guided him, made him strong, and gave him wisdom. In 559 B.C. God caused Cyrus to become king of the small kingdom of Anshan.

After he became king of Anshan, Cyrus grew powerful and conquered Persia, adding it to his kingdom. Then he conquered Medea. PGM Then he conquered Anatolia (Turkey) and plundered all its gold. He became very wealthy, as God had said he would in Isaiah 45:3: “I will give you the treasures of darkness.” Finally, he came against Babylon as prophesied by Isaiah and Jeremiah.

On October 16, 539 B.C., King Belshazzar of Babylon was having a party and getting drunk. This Belshazzar never accomplished anything in life. His grandfather Nebuchadnezzar was a great king, but Belshazzar was a playboy. On this night he ordered the vessels from the temple of Jerusalem to be brought to him so that he could drink wine out of them. Thus Belshazzar blasphemed the God of heaven.

As Belshazzar was drinking and having a good time, on the wall across from him there appeared, without context, a hand which wrote some cuneiform letters, MN, MN, TKL, and PRS, which stood for the words, “Mene, mene, tekel, uparsin (‘and parsin’).” When Belshazzar saw this, he began to shake and his legs gave way. What could he do? The Lord of history was playing games on the wall. He searched for people to interpret, but no one could do it.

At last Daniel, who was an old man by then, was brought in to interpret these words. We read about it in Daniel 5:26-28: “This is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres [the singular of parsin, NIV text note]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.” And in verse 30 we read, “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain.” Babylon was overthrown on October 16, 539 B.C., and Cyrus became king.

God Stirs up Cyrus

Was Cyrus a believer? No, as we read in Isaiah 45:4, 5: “You will not acknowledge me.” But God controls the pagan kings as well as the believing kings. Cyrus was a pagan-a polytheist, in fact-which we learn from the cuneiform inscription on what is called the Cyrus cylinder. There we read a message from Cyrus, “May all the gods whom I have resettled in their sacred cities ask daily Bel and Nebo for a long life for me and my son. To Marduk, my lord, may they say this: Cyrus the king, who worships you, and Cambyses his son.” This inscription alludes to Cyrus’s policy of resettling people to their own land, which was contrary to the policy of the Babylonians. So Cyrus asked all gods, including Jehovah, to do him a service of praying daily to Bel and Nebo, gods of Babylon, for a long life for his son and him. Then Cyrus mentioned Marduk, who was the chief god he worshiped. Here, then, we see that Cyrus was a pagan polytheist who never believed in the one true living God.

The truth here is that it doesn’t matter whether people believe in God or not for God to use them. He controls everything and everyone. So we read in Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” The king’s heart, the king’s mind, the king’s everything is directed by God to accomplish God’s plan and purpose. That is the sovereignty that we are talking about. The Lord is the sole controller of history.

Thus, in Ezra 1:1 we read that God moved the heart of Cyrus. As we said, God had given Cyrus his very existence as well as his name, his kingdom, and all his might and power. He protected Cyrus all through his life and made him king of Babylon in 539 B.C. Now, in 538 B.C., he moved Cyrus’ heart to do God’s will.

When God stirs your heart, you will do his will, whether you love him or not. It is that simple. The word “moved” here means “made hot.” The idea here is that of arousing and awakening someone to act. When we say God moved Cyrus it means God controlled his thinking and inspired him to act in a focused manner to accomplish God’s purpose. We find the same expression in Haggai 1:14, where we read that God stirred the heart of Zerubbabel, the heart of Joshua the high priest, and the hearts of the people to rise up and build the temple, which they finished in 516.

God stirs, moves, inspires, guides, and leads people to do his will. It can happen any time and in any place. As we listen to the word of God, there may be a stirring deep within us. God himself is working. And when God stirs a person’s heart, that person will do what God desires. So God inspired Cyrus and put into his heart God’s plan and God’s purposes. God roused King Cyrus to act by changing his attitude, we are told, and he became an instrument in God’s hand. Note, he acted on his own. When God stirs our hearts, we will know what to do. It is not just a stirring of our emotions. No, it is a stirring in our thinking and in our will as well as in our emotions. We become enthused and focused. We purpose to do something and get up early, go out, and do it.

This is what we call effectual calling. When God’s Holy Spirit calls us effectually, we will repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved. In the same way, when God stirs us up, we will be so highly motivated that we will not stop until we finish the work. God works through human beings to perform his preordained plan to save his people. All things are of him, through him, and unto him.

God Stirs up His People

As God moved his heart, Cyrus liberated God’s people by a proclamation, which we read in Ezra 1:2. This proclamation was sent out in 538, and we notice it was issued not seventy but sixty-seven years after Jeremiah’s prophecy. God, in his mercy, was cutting short the captivity of his people. God’s mercy comes to us early. Thus, what Isaiah prophesied two hundred years earlier and what Jeremiah prophesied in 605 B.C. received its fulfillment in 538 B.C. through Cyrus.

As God came to liberate his people from Egypt in the first exodus, now he was coming to liberate his people from Babylon in a second exodus. Not only did God stir and move the heart of Cyrus, as we read in verse 1, but he also stirred and moved the hearts of his people, as we read in verse 5: “Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites-everyone whose heart God had moved-prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.”

When Cyrus made his proclamation, a select number of people, including Zerubbabel and Joshua, said, “I want to get out of this place. There is a stirring inside of me. I am not interested in cattle and everything else. Yes, there is a good life here, but I want to go to Jerusalem.” What was pulling these people? The irresistible grace of God. Fifty thousand people whose hearts were moved by the same God came with great joy and tears and asked, “Which is the way to Zion? I want to go to Zion.”

We do not read about a pillar of fire or a pillar of cloud leading these people, yet they were led by God. This again is God acting in ordinary history. They left Babylon and eventually all arrived in Jerusalem safely.

The New Cyrus and The Third Exodus

Cyrus was a type of Christ. Though he remained a pagan, he was the instrument God used to liberate God’s covenant people from Babylonian bondage. But there is another Anointed One, another true shepherd who is the true Savior of his people. He is the chosen One of God, the suffering servant, the God/man who was in the bosom of the Father but came down from heaven to deliver us from sin and bring about a third exodus-an exodus from the bondage of sin. The greatest bondage of man is not bondage to Babylon or Egypt. The greatest bondage man experiences is the bondage to sin. In Jesus Christ we have a Savior who delivers us from our bondage to Satan, sin and death.

This new Cyrus came to give us abundant, eternal life. God promised this Deliverer for us in Genesis 3 as the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent. In Galatians 4:4 Paul begins, “But when the time had fully come. . .” There was a time to deliver God’s people from Egypt and there was a time to deliver them from Babylon. But there is also a time to deliver us from our sins, so Paul writes, “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”

Unlike the pagan Cyrus, this new Cyrus loves God and serves him only. He is the son of Abraham and son of David; his kingdom is forever. He has received all authority in heaven and on earth and he alone has the authority on earth to forgive sins. His name is Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

As a teenager, this One was concerned about his Father’s will and submitted to his parents. Upon his baptism, he was anointed of the Holy Spirit. He was led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil. He ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit. One Sabbath day in the synagogue in Nazareth he declared,

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

This One died on the cross for our sins and was raised up on the third day. He is our risen Savior, the new Cyrus, the great emancipator who makes proclamation of liberation for us. He declares, “Babylon is fallen! Satan is defeated! Sin is dealt with in justice!”

Having triumphed over all his enemies by his death on the cross, this new Cyrus has made a great proclamation to his people and written it down in a Book, the Holy Scriptures. What does he tell us there? “All sinners, come unto me; I will give you rest. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”

God Saves His People

The third point, then, is that God saves his people. Everyone whose heart is moved by the Holy Spirit will come to this Savior and be saved. You will not negotiate; you will come, surrender and be saved.

In Isaiah 45:22 God declared, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” Modern man is focused upon himself, not God. We will never get out of ourselves until God calls. But when, all of a sudden, he says, “Look to me, turn to me,” we will straighten out, like the woman who was bent down for eighteen years. When Jesus spoke to her, for the first time in her life, she looked to him and straightened up. We see the greatest reality in the whole world-God-in the person of Jesus Christ.

He who raised up Cyrus has raised up Jesus as the Savior of the world. The final fulfillment of Jeremiah 50:4-5, 18-20 is to be found in Jesus Christ. So in Jeremiah 50:4 we read, “‘In those days, at that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God.'” These are tears of repentance as well as tears of joy. In verse 5 we read, “‘They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it.” Have you ever seen people who come and ask, “Well, where is the way to Zion?” Oh, it is easy to minister to such people. They are already weeping. They are already rejoicing. “Please, we need ministers,” they will say. “Show us the way to Zion.”

Verse 5 continues, “They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.” These people are not interested in autonomous Christianity. Many people like to go to church, but will say, “Don’t tell me anything. I just want to come and sit as an autonomous person. Don’t tell me how to live!” That is not Christianity. When God saves us, he brings us into his holy church, whose government is based on the Scriptures. We must bind ourselves to the Lord and to such a church.

Those whose hearts are stirred up, those who are effectually called, will come with tears and say, “Please show me the way to Zion. I am born of God, called of God, and saved by God. I am liberated by the new Cyrus, Jesus Christ, and want to serve him with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Show me the way to Zion!” Such people “will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.”

In verse 20 we read, “‘In those days, at that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.'”

Why could God say that no sin or guilt could be found? The reason is found in Isaiah 53:4-6:

Surely he took up our infirmities, and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Through Jesus Christ our iniquity, our guilt, our sin is gone forever! Go ahead, search for it. Satan, go ahead-search for it. Wife, go ahead-search for it. Husband, go ahead-search for it. It shall not be found because it is all covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Are You Following Christ?

God stirred my own heart many decades ago and made me willing to follow him. I came to him with tears-tears of repentance as well as tears of joy. I trusted in Jesus Christ and all my guilt was removed. Go ahead-search for it! It will not be found. Then I joined the company of people on their way to Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem. All those who have trusted in Christ are together on this journey, on our way to Zion, and soon we shall arrive. What a day that will be! What salvation! What joy!

What about you? Has God stirred your heart? Is he stirring it now? If so, I urge you to respond to him today. Don’t wait for a theophany. Don’t look for an angel. Don’t look for miracles or any earth-shaking phenomena. The Holy Spirit, who is a greater reality than all of these things, is stirring, moving, leading, and guiding in our midst. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). The mountain of Babylon has been leveled, and the mountain of the kingdom of Satan has been defeated. The glory of man is humbled and the strong man has been bound by the new Cyrus, who has released us into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The captives are set free and the Holy Spirit, in the holy Scripture, through his holy church, is leading his exiles to Christ, their only Savior. Through the moving and leading of the Spirit, the prodigals and exiles are going to their Father.

Would you join them in going to Zion? Would you say in utter submission, “Where he leads me, I will follow”? Those who are being led by the Spirit are the children of God, Paul says. God promised salvation and he has fulfilled it through his Savior, Jesus Christ. God has proclaimed liberation in Christ’s name, and we are saved. The blind sees, the deaf hears, the demons are cast out, the power of Satan is defeated, the dead is raised up, sins are forgiven, and saints are going to heavenly Zion.

May God stir up our minds, our wills, our hearts, and our emotions, that we may irresistibly will think his thoughts, will his will, and move with God. May he liberate and lead us so that we may say with tears of great joy, “O God, wherever you lead us; we will follow.” Amen.