God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 18 - Ezra 1-3: Cyrus Send the Exiles to Rebuild the Temple in Honor of God

Today’s Reading: Ezra 1-3

The Message

English Standard Version

Ezra 2 gives the genealogy of the returning exiles. Scan through this chapter if you are behind or have little time today.

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Daniel's positive influence on the king of Persia may have lead to the return of the exiles to Jerusalem.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

King Cyrus commissioned a return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple in Honor of God. He encouraged the exiles to give to the cause. Judah's, Benjamin's, and Levi's descendents went. Cyrus returned everything Nebuchadnezzar stole from the Temple.
Thousands of Judeans returned to their towns. A few families could not prove their lineage and were barred from priestly work.
Seven months later, Jeshua and Zerubbabel built the Altar to the God of Israel and began offering sacrifices on it. Seven months later, they laid the Temple's foundation. David's music rang in Jerusalem again—to loud shouts and cries of joy.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

King Cyrus wanted to help Israel rebuild the Temple.

Jeremiah told Judah that God would return the furnishings of the Temple. God also told Judah that Cyrus would be the king to do it. God used Cyrus, a non-Chosen Person, to set things right for God's Chosen People. God will use anyone willing to set things right.

God protected the returned exiles.

When Jeshua and Zerubbabel began offering sacrifices on the Altar in Honor of the God of Israel they were worried their neighbors would attack. They were right to be worried, too. However, God protected them from Gog and anyone else who wanted to steal what they had. God will protect His Chosen People.

David's music was heard in Jerusalem for the first time in generations.

Jerusalem had been silent for 70 years. Before that the Temple had been used to house a plethora of gods. Only the oldest people remembered even seeing the building. In our readings, we have not heard a positive story about Jerusalem for 45 days. Finally, we have a group of people who are willing to serve God again. Their shouts of joy and weeping for joy were so loud no one could tell the difference because God had given them grace to return and praise Him again.

Praise God for His Mercy and Grace to allow us to praise Him!

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