Singing in the ruins
Ezra 2: God is good…he’ll never quit loving Israel!
Tens of thousands of people take Cyrus up on his offer for exiles to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. I imagine they’re quite disappointed when they arrive there. The city is no city at all, just a pile of ruins. The Temple they’ve come to rebuild simply exists no more. This is no “fix up” project. Instead, it’s to be the construction of an entirely new building on the site of the old one. None of these returning exiles realize what a difficult and decades-long project it will be. Still, they get started and soon lay the foundation for the new Temple. That, in their eyes is reason for celebration. The religious leaders, who are already ministering in a temporary arraignment, plan the service and everyone attends. The special song is, “God is good…he’ll never quit loving Israel!” There’s more to this song than we might think. Around 60 years earlier their parents and grandparents had been taken from this land when God had had enough of their sinful rebellion. Even as they sing this song they stand in the ruins of their holy city, destroyed because of the decree of God. Now, as they gather to worship they sing of God’s goodness and of his unfailing love to them. Again, this is more than a random special song. This is a declaration of faith. They proclaim that God is, indeed, a good God who loves them and still wants to be in fellowship with them. Such a declaration of faith in God’s goodness is a powerful thing. I wonder if my own faith is of the same quality as theirs. Can I stand in the ruins of my dreams and sing of the goodness and love of God?
Take Away: The Lord is good and kind and loving, full of mercy and grace. That’s true when the sun is shining in my life. It’s also true when things aren’t going as I want them to.