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“May you and I be vehicles of God’s mercy.” <>< Dona (06/18/20)

Please read Ezra 1 through 3.  If you don’t have a Bible handy just click here -> Biblegateway.com.  The Biblegateway website should open for you to use.  Type in the chapters you want to read and select the translation you want to read them from. Click search and the chapters should appear. Once you read the suggested chapters close the screen and you should return here.

In Ezra 1 The Lord put it in Cyrus, the king of Persia’s, heart to make a proclamation throughout his realm. Though he was not a servant of God, he was used by God.  

Response

Oh! Wow! Lord, You can use even unbelievers to accomplish Your plans.

Something to think about

Cyrus gave the proclamation allowing the Israelites to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. Some of the Jews didn’t want to and chose not to return because they had accumulated great wealth and didn’t want to start over. 

Something to experience

When faced with difficult situations, remember God’s power is not limited to your resources.  God is able to use anyone to carry out His plans, as he used Cyrus.  And we must not let our comfort, security or material possessions prevent us from doing what God wants. 

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In Ezra 2 The returning Israelites contributed freewill offerings according to their ability for the temple’s reconstruction.

Response

Oh! Wow! Lord, the Israelites were generous with their giving.  

Something to think about

Everyone gave as much as they could to help the rebuilding.

Something to experience

The Bible says we should give from the heart all that we are able (II Corinthians 8:12; 9:6).  Our giving is not just about money.  We should give of our time, energy and other resources too.

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In Ezra 3:1-7 the returning Israelites almost immediately built an altar. 

Response

Oh! Wow! Lord, the Israelites began worshipping You before even the temple foundation was laid.

Something to think about

The Israelites had learned from many years in captivity that God doesn’t offer special protection to people who ignore Him. If ever they needed to rely on God’s power, it was at this time surrounded by their enemies.  They knew they needed to obey God from the heart and not merely out of habit.

Something to experience

If we want God’s help when we undertake a large task, we must make staying close to Him our top priority.

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In Ezra 3:8-13 the Israelites begin the rebuilding of the temple even before the city wall.  The temple was used for spiritual purposes and the wall for military and political purposes.   Since God was their protector it made sense to begin the rebuilding with the temple.

Response

Oh! Wow! Lord, the Israelites realized the strongest wall would not protect them if God wasn’t with them.

Something to think about

The Israelites knew that putting their spiritual lives in order was a far higher priority than building a wall for their city.

Something to experience

We need to seek to serve God with all our being – body, mind and spirit. 

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Prayer

Lord, when we are faced with difficult situations, I pray we will remember Your power is not limited to our resources.  I pray we will remember You are able to use anyone to carry out Your plans.   I pray we will not let our comfort, security or material possessions prevent us from doing what You want us to do.  I pray we will give from the heart all that we are able (II Corinthians 8:12; 9:6). I pray we will recognize our giving is not just about money.  I pray we will give of our time, energy and other resources too.  I pray we will make staying close to You our top priority. I pray we will seek to serve You with all our being – body, mind and spirit.  In Christ Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.

“May you and I seek to serve the Lord with all our being.” <>< Dona