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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Devotionals on Ezra 8

Bogard Press Daily Devotional-The People Return to the Land of Promise

by Wally Fry

Sunday, March 17

The People Return to the Land of Promise

Ezra 8:31-34

“And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days,” Ezra 8:32.

The second wave of Jewish returnees from the captivity had arrived in Jerusalem. After some months of travel from Persia to their homeland, they entered Jerusalem. God’s plan to restore His nation has taken another step forward.

Much more happened here than just a bunch of people hitting the road and moving out. I think we can see a good model for us here of how God’s work, even today, should be carried out.

Ezra, the man called by God, prayed, prepared and made himself ready to proclaim the truth to the people. He made an assessment of the spiritual condition of the assembly and exhorted them to take a look at themselves (Ezra 9; 10). The people were honestly convicted of their trespasses, repented and committed to turning in another spiritual direction (Ezra 9:15). Only then did the work begin and the trip to Jerusalem was made.

This could not have been an easy trip, being some months long through likely hostile territory, into what was also probably an unfriendly place; yet, it was done. Then, the people rested; they “abode there three days” (Ezra 8:32). On the fourth day, they began working again.

What a great example for us today! God still has a plan and purpose, and He still needs those among His called out assemblies to get it done.

JUST A THOUGHT: God has work to be done. Are we in the proper spiritual condition and willing to do it?

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Those Who Returned with Ezra

by Wally Fry

Monday, March 11

Those Who Returned with Ezra

Ezra 8:1-20

“These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king,” Ezra 8:1.

When the Jews returned to Jerusalem after seventy years of captivity in Babylon, they did not just all pack up one day and move back; they returned in several stages or waves of returnees. Ezra and the roughly fifteen hundred men, plus families, represented the second wave of those returning. Zerrubabel was the first, Ezra the second and Nehemiah was to be the third. Like those before, Ezra was willing to step out in the face of what must have been extreme uncertainty and execute God’s plan for His people.

It is easy to imagine that many had serious misgivings when various prophets started announcing to them that God had revealed a plan to return to their homeland, and He was looking for those willing to go. The Jews had been in Babylon for seventy years; for some Babylon was their homeland. There were likely at least a couple of generations of Jews who knew nothing of their old homeland other than what the older generations had told them, or perhaps what they had read in accounts of the times. Many were probably quite comfortable and perfectly happy for all things to remain the same.

Even today, we need Zerrubabels, Ezras and Nehemiahs; we need leaders willing to step up and proclaim what God has put in their hearts. We need people willing to respond to those exhortations, leave their comfort zones and step out by faith into the unknown. Where do we stand?

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