November 14, 2023
DAY 318: JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
Click here for the reading
Focus Verses For Today: Ezra 4:1-4
Today we begin our journey through the book of Ezra. The Israelites return home.
Take a moment and pray, asking for understanding of today’s reading. Read Ezra 1-5. Let’s journey!
Ezra 1-5: Ezra continues the history of the Israelites exactly where 2 Chronicles left off, with the final verses of 2 Chronicles in the opening verses of Ezra. Ezra, a Levitical priest and scribe, records the items and people that return from Babylon to Jerusalem. Upon arriving, the first order of business was to re-establish worship to the Lord. The Israelites experienced opposition to rebuilding, eventually resulting in work stopping for a time. When work resumed, so did concerns regarding the building, and the Israelites reminded King Darius that King Cyrus had permitted and encouraged them to rebuild Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:1-5:17)
Our focus verses for today:
When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, 2 they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.”
3 But Zerubbabel, Joshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.”
4 Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.
(Ezra 4:1-4, NIV)
The fall of Jerusalem was the result of worshipping false gods. The returning Israelites knew this and were determined to not repeat past mistakes. They recognized that establishing worship to the Lord was of the utmost importance after their return. They also recognized that they could not allow outsiders to help in the rebuilding of the temple, for while they may have worshipped the Lord, they also worshipped false gods. Today, people will claim to be Christians, yet act in ways that explicitly contradict the teachings of the Lord. Just like the Israelites, we need to carefully examine with whom we surround ourselves. Are we letting people into our lives that will lead us astray? Are you allowing people into your life who will subtly influence you to go against the Lord? Is your life completely focused on the Lord first?
For more information regarding how your financial support can help, please click here.