“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’”
Rebuilding is not easy, ask any builder and they will tell you it is far simpler to start with a new build than it is to rebuild an old, broken down house or building. But when you have limited resources, you have to use what is already available and at your disposal. The Babylonians, under King Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed Jerusalem and carried off the kings’ family and all the leaders in Judah. A few kings later, Cyrus, sends Ezra and Nehemiah back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, the walls to the city, and their homes.
Just as God had used the Babylonians to destroy the nation of Israel and Judah, God also used them (now called Persians), to rebuild what had been destroyed. God’s people were protected. God’s worship continued. God’s work carried on.
There are times in our own lives when we see one project end and restart something different. It is not easy to let go of good ideas or projects that we felt were of God. Perhaps God will continue or bring back that opportunity, or perhaps God is rebuilding something in a different way. The temple was not rebuilt to the same majesty it once had. And yet, people were still able to worship there. The walls looked different, but they still provided protection and safety. God’s work carries on.
God of the ages, you gift us with your Word, written in the Bible and lived out in Jesus Christ. Yet we ignore this gift. We pretend that it doesn’t make sense in our world. We read it without trusting you to open it to our understanding. We act as if your word is always the same, when it is in fact you who does not change.
Forgive us, O God.
Help us to hear your eternal Word anew in our hearts and our lives, and show us how to live it out in our world, now and always. Amen.