My co-worker and I successfully sojourned through Ephesians, James, 1 Peter and 2 Peter. I have so enjoyed our time gleaning such wisdom from these books, and application to our lives. Every word we read had such direct application for the season that we were in, it was almost unbelievable. God is very present right now.
We decided to take a break from the NT, and go old school. Old Testament that is. Where to go? We got a ticket to Ezra and have decided to settle in to a little history.
Ezra starts out right at a time where the Jews were finally able to return home, and to rebuild the temple.
Chapter 2 is jam packed with names and tribal numbers. I think its really easy to skim over this section, and not take anything from it. But I just think that God cares about each one of his people to list them in His book. God cares about each and every one of us.
Ezra caries on talking about rebuilding the temple. To be honest this part was like reading a hebrew textbook on how to rebuild a temple, and the faithfulness of the people who began to worship before the temple was even finished. Towards the very end of Chapter 7 to the end Ezra speaks directly to us.
In chapter 8 verse 15 Ezra says, “I assembled the exiles at the Ahava Canal, and we camped there for three days while I went over this lists of the people and the priests who had arrived. I found that not one Levite had volunteered to come along.” (NLT)- How easy is it for us to simply ignore a calling. God had called us all for a special purpose. Do I respond to the call, or do I feel content sitting on the sidelines?
God is working in my life renovating it and rebuilding me as a new creation. The re-build doesn’t just happen in one day, or even a month, but takes years of purposeful building.
In chapters 9 & 10 we see the sin that crept into Israel. Men and even priests were marrying pagan women, and they were asked to send their wives and children born of these relationships away. The reason for it was so that no pagan children would inherit the land of Israel. In today’s world we cant imagine such things especially in inter-marriages.
As someone who is married to a non-christian I am grateful for what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:13-14, 16, “If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (ESV)
I love God patience. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness built is patient toward you, not wishing that an should perish but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9 (ESV). Perhaps these verses don’t go together at all, but this is what I thought of when I read them.
I’m curious for those of you who’ve read Ezra. In general, what do you think about this chapter?