Hi friends! Welcome to the book of Ezra, a two part book most often referred to as Ezra-Nehemiah. Although for this reading we can just call it "Nick struggles to pronounce Israelite names for 13 minutes straight." Haha! While difficult to read the names, I think this is an effective start to the book as it showcases just how many people were taken into exile and just how many people came out of it. Probably because of COVID I couldn't help but feel a jolt of sadness for the families who had smaller numbers come back than others. Maybe these were the poorer exiles who worked the more laborious jobs? Maybe these were the wisecrack families who refused to coddle with their oppressors. Ultimately we will never know but I admit it's fun to imagine. Anyways, let's jump in and see what sticks out to you!
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this clue me into what hte people were struggling with at the time? What "thing in the news" is this a response to? What does it reveal about the exile?
What, if anything, is applicable to today? What does it challenge me to do in response?
I won't be sharing any thoughts today or tomorrow as I videos from Bible Project to show you for those days. As usual, the first one is an overview of what you'll be reading ahead and the one tomorrow is about the exile. I hope you'll take the time to watch this short, but wonderful videos.
Our prayer today is inspired by hymn 200 in our United Methodist Hymnal - Tell Out my Soul! Much like the hymn's name implies, I hope that you will open up your soul and let your praises be heard as you lift up these words to God in prayer. Also, this is a really pretty rendition with a powerful choir backing it. If you miss the sound of a full choir, this one will bring you joy!
1 Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord! Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice; tender to me the promise of God's word; in God my Savior shall my heart rejoice.
2 Tell out, my soul, the greatness of God's name! Make known God's might, who wondrous deeds has done; God's mercy sure, from age to age the same; God's holy name, the Lord, the mighty One.
3 Tell out, my soul, the greatness of God's might! Powers and dominions lay their glory by; proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight, the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.
4 Tell out, my soul, the glories of God's word! Firm is the promise and God's mercy sure. Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord to children’s children and forevermore!