Ezra 6 - Day 908 (link to reading)
Scripture: Ezra 6:13-22
Commentary (theologyofwork.org): Ezra describes several efforts to squelch the construction (Ezra 4:1-23). These were successful for a while, stopping the temple project for about two decades (Ezra 4:24). Finally, God encouraged the Jews through the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah to resume and complete the job (Ezra 5:1). Moreover, Darius, king of Persia, underwrote the building effort financially in the hope that the Lord might bless him and his sons (Ezra 6:8-10). Thus the temple was finally completed, thanks to the fact that God had “turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them” so that “he aided [the Jews] in the work on the house of God” (Ezra 6:22).
As this verse makes clear, the Jews actually did the work of rebuilding the temple. Yet their labors were successful because of help from two pagan kings, one who inaugurated the project and the other who paid for its completion. Behind these human efforts loomed the overarching work of God, who moved in the hearts of the kings and encouraged his people through the prophets. As we have seen, God is at work far beyond what meets the eye of his people.
Application: God is in control of our situation. We often can't see Him working in the background, but He's doing what needs to get done.
Prayer: Lord, Thy will be done...
Ezra 5 - Day 907 (link to reading)
Scripture: Ezra 5:1-2
Commentary (thewarehouse.blog): There are times when it feels like nothing is happening. There are other times when it feels like God’s purposes and ways have been sidelined. We see no movement. The dream seems foolish. We wonder what the use is and check out.
So often, discouragement and depression set in through lack of tangibly seeing any results. All we’ve staked our minds on and felt in the spiritual realm God was asking of us to pursue have come to an abrupt halt. It’s a hard place to crawl out of.
Application: Faith is acting in confidence despite our doubts, fears, and discouragement. It's not easy to do, but it makes all the difference.
Prayer: Lord, help my unbelief...
Ezra 4 - Day 906 (link to reading)
Scripture: Ezra 4:1-10
Commentary (bibleoutlines.com - Loken): With the progress of the rebuilding project comes the antagonism of those who had previously controlled the land of Israel. This section builds on the previous chapter by detailing the response of the neighbors to the efforts of the Jews. One might anticipate that the foreigners of the land would be hostile to the growing Jewish influence in the province. By this time, they had lived in the province of Judah for decades, many perhaps being born in the land of Israel. Now, a group they currently regarded as “foreigners” was taking their land and influence away.
Application: God gave the "promised" land to the Israelites through their ancestor Abraham. To this day, Jewish people will cite this agreement to justify their use of force to ensure their rights. As an outsider, it's easy for me to question their approach, but is this really what God intended?
Prayer: Lord, show us...
Ezra 3 - Day 905 (link to reading)
Scripture: Ezra 3:10-13
Commentary (thebrackbills.com): the Israelites had been exiled from Israel for seventy years. They were finally allowed to return to their Promised Land and began to rebuild their temple (Solomon’s glorious temple which had been completely destroyed)...the ones who had seen the glory of the original temple – wept. In the middle of the joyous moment they wept unashamedly for what used to be. They wept for what they had lost. Maybe they wept for all that the last seventy years in exile had stolen from them. And the writer doesn’t say it was bad or that God was displeased. It doesn’t mean they weren’t excited about the new temple – they simply allowed themselves to express the grief that rang so loudly in their hearts.
Application: Regret is a powerful emotion that hurts but can also be used to motivate us to change. Instead of dwelling on the past (good ole days), focus on what we can control now to move us toward our preferred future.
Prayer: Lord, Thy will be done...
Ezra 2 - Day 904 (link to reading)
Scripture: Ezra 2
Commentary (thewarehouse.blog): Genealogies were very important to the Jewish people. For them, if they could prove they had descended from Abraham, they were considered true Jews and could fully participate in the Jewish community. If they could not, their interaction was limited.
What is interesting is Ezra’s name is missing yet he was a key player. Ezra was a priest, a scribe and great leader. His name means ‘help’ and he lived up to the meaning as his entire life was built around serving God and His people...
Application: Ezra's name was missing from the list, but his actions proved otherwise. Ezra didn't let the bureaucracy stop him from doing what was right. He didn't care about the accolades or recognition, Ezra wanted to serve God.
Prayer: Lord, You alone I long to worship...
Husband, Father, Pastor....
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