Welcome to the Book of Ezra! Ezra tells the stories of (1) Israel’s challenging rebuild of the temple in Jerusalem after their exile in Babylon, (2) Ezra’s reaction after returning to Israel, (3) a nationwide divorce.
“In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom…”
—Ezra 1:1 NLT
Several years ago, we experienced a house fire that, while not burning the house down, did cause significant damage. We got “exiled” for about 15 months. During that time, we had to live in large part under the authority and provision of a temporary ruler (also known as our insurance company—who really seemed to think they were all-powerful kings sometimes). After about 9 months of living in a different kingdom (AKA a hotel downtown), we got a new ruler (an adjuster) and got to move into a rental house back in our community. And finally 6 months later, we moved back into our restored home.
During this long challenge, there were days we leaned into our faith and took all this in stride and trusted God. There were other days we were wondering what the heck was going on and how could God have let this happen to us.
Reading Ezra feels a lot like the Israelites went through something similar. What struck me most in this first verse of the book of Ezra was “the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given.” Even in the midst of destruction, displacement, and then rebuilding, God was always faithful to His promises. He keeps His word.
Daily Battle Order:
Consider the challenges in your life today. Is there something that feels like it has been torn down or taken away? Maybe you are struggling to see God in that situation or are feeling impatient to get an answer to prayer. Take 5 minutes right now and give it to God, reminding yourself He has promised to care for you, even in this. Thank Him right now for His faithfulness to fulfill all His promises.
This past weekend, TJC executed its 4th annual Chickamauga Battlefield Maneuver. Thank you to all the men who joined us! TJC’s theme this year is “Building great men out of conflict.” Consequently, we studied the “reunion” that took place in 1889 between those who fought there 26 years prior.
TJC’s Battlefield Maneuvers look like this: We (1) go to historical battlefields, (2) retell the stories of what happened there, and (3) relate them to the spiritual battles we face everyday as men. If you missed out on Chickamauga, mark your calendars now for May 19-21, 2023, as we travel to Manassas National Battlefield Park in Va. We’ll also be going to Gettysburg (Pa.) on Oct. 13-15, 2023.