Our reading challenge for the day is Ezra 1-5. I’ll hit a few highlights. You make comments too and fill in the gaps. What strikes you as specially significant?
Ezra 1 - Cyrus, king of Persia, moved by God, sent those of the people of Judah who wished, back home. Cyrus gave some gifts as well as restoring the furnishings taken from the temple. See how this was to fulfill God’s prophecy.
Ezra 2 - This chapter is mostly intended to document the lineage of priests. Because the priesthood was hereditary it was very important to know who could and could not serve in bringing God’s forgiveness to the people.
Ezra 3 - Sacrifices and festivals were restored, then the foundation of the temple was laid. It’s significant that the restoration of acts of worship received primary attention. We gather to receive from God even if we do not have all the structures completed.
Ezra 4-5 - Local residents did not wish to be excluded from God’s work. Yet they were not people of Judah and the leaders did not trust them. So a series of letters began, through the time of multiple kings. “Persia” ordered construction to stop. The Jews began again. It was reported as a rebellious act.
How do we act when God’s work is hindered or prohibited? Do we pray that God’s will may be done, then respectfully seek means to continue with what God has ordained?