Good morning all!
I write to you from a cosy bed in Manchester post the days of Christmas festivities. I hope you had a good one and trust you took time to remember he reason for the season (even though its not strictly Jesus’ birthday…it’s the thought that counts so ho hum! Lol).
Being a book of only 10 chapters, I thought this would be my easiest blog yet but boy was a wrong! I had to call in external resources to help me pad out what would have been a 1 par piece.
Upon my inquiries, I developed more respect for the book; the understanding of the cultural contexts and the state of the zeitgeist really put Ezra’s calling into perspective.
His repentance, his rebuilding of the temple and he’s frequent distribution of telling-off’s came at a time when Israel needed it most (but to be fair, when did they ever not need it).
Persia came on the scene quite suddenly and Cyrus had his eye on Judah. His eagerness to build a temple came from Yahweh stirring up a spirit within him (Ezra 1:1-3). Wouldn’t it be easier for God to stir up a spirit in all of us? After all, free will means nothing if it can lead us to hell and a passion like Cyrus’ would surely make the world a better place. The adversaries of Judah ad Benjamin were also keen to help rebuild the temple (even if it was for a short time). Ezra 4:1 got me o dreaming of how much greater the old would be if we all got together; how easier it would e to coexist; how uplifting it would be for poverty to non exist.
In retrospect, I realise how timely it is for me to be reading Ezra over the Christmas hols. Amidst the mounts of food, piles of presents and the crowd of relatives and old friends, it’s important to remain humble and repentant like Ezra. I do have other thoughts but they’ll look so much better in the Nehemiah blog.