Easily Ezra. Game for for texting texts? I continue to be 07729056452.
Ez1-2 Three things temples need: (1) stirring, (2) freedom, (3) supply. (1) God's work done God's way never lacks God's stir-ply: v1 'the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus..': God will make an evangelist and reformer out of a gentile if need be. v5 'every [jew] whose spirit God had stirred to go...': Christians need the will to want it (and a little self esteem) .. (2) Like leaving Pharoah, it's ever a freedom to worship. So for us. If it were for freedom that we were set free, then it is for worship that we have our freedom, and it is in music and temples and food and colour that we have our worship. How free are we? How worshiplessly fritter we our freedom away? (3) Supply. Can we be, could we be? Is mine a life that a Cyrus could give gold towards? Perhaps the Dod is.. How do we put ourselves in the way of supply? .. Be stirred and know that God is God.
Ez3-4 rebuilding the altar, rebuilding the altar first, before anything else. Worship first, sacrifice first, seek first the kingdom of God. Every day sacrifices morning and evening. Life is hard, and seeking God first is an every moment breathing living surrender. The altar ius rebuilt when afraid. & there is much to legitimately fear. We build and re-build now when we're not afraid, but when we are brave. Rebuilding. Re-building. Building something that has been before, building it again, trying to build it better, building it again because it was important & valuable but got destroyed. Building it the same but different a crying and a rejoicing. We are mixed motives, mixed feelings, we live in these tensions. Yes we do. To not feel tensions is to stop being alive, but God is the God of the living, God of the crying wailing rejoicing hurting celebrating worshippers. Go the God of lives that feel tension, God of the higgledy piggledy here and now. And bribes and discouragement and fear come against temple rebuilding, but a temple rebuilt is still a rebellion against all that rebels against God. So all this. Holy rebels let us be.
Ez5-6 Dear rebels, go, with unrelenting rejoicing, go be kind, remind, reenvision, so to rebuild. .. vs Phil's irrational fear of buereacrats: God knows the forms they have for you, and they are already signed, sealed and Eph1:13ed. .. When asked for your name 5v10, asked, 'who are you?' tell them whose you are, give an answer for the hope, tell them by whose authority you presume to be and to do and to have any claim on anything. This is how to bring the gospel into introductions and small talk. .. 6v10 Pray for king and for country and for the good of the city: there are legitimate ways to procure funding from the city in exchange for spiritual services and prayers-on-behalf-of-the-city? .. 'Huge stones .. diligently .. prospered.' Heave ho dear rebels.x
Ez7-8 the gold and silver we are given to spend wisely, towards the right sacrifices to God. This is our responsibility. Artaxerxes institutes a system that seeks to honour God because God 'blesses' v7, it is 'by grace' v28. So our responsibility and God's responsibility, and discerning what is ours and what is God's. Both are here, in these two chapters, in the repentance of our hearts and the leading of the spirit. This is hard, Gof, wat is our to do and what is yours? This discernement is a wisdom to be sought & what is wisdom? Looking at Pr3's advice for the young.. loyalty, faithfulness, trust, humility, obedience. Teach us their application today. I am struck also by a similarity in Ezra's prayers & Jesus' prayer for his disciples read yesterday. A prayer for knowing God to be God, a prayer for protection and a prayer for knowing one's belovedness. So God I pray for thee that you would know that you are v28 sacred to God. God, protect you from the eveil that will seek to destroy you. God, keep you safe to know who you are and who He is. v21 'lead us on our journey and protect us.'
Ez9-10 Today a marriage of convenient timing and a shallow exposition. Apologies if I don't do this important text justice. We can speak of marriage generally, specifically and metaphorically. We can ask of Ezra, who was wrongly marrying how and why? We can ask of our time, who should rightly marry, how and why? .. Marriage needs Law, insofar as it is the contractual propagation of a line by the intimacy of mutually motivated Others? Marriage images heaven in being a united unity in single-minded worship? Marriage is the public promise of a future fidelity by finite and broken beings, a promise predicated entirely on God's possibility, a possibility only available to those who will receive it? So, if they were not one in propagation, in praise nor in predication, they were marrying wrongly. How and why? Why would they marry like that? Ezra's not illuminating here. How and why might we marry wrongly? Generally, specifically and metaphorically. So generally, there is some mileage in extending the notion of a holy nation to the new covenant israel, in so far as there remains a biological multiplication imperative, and the need to retain the currency of a language of symbollic cleanliness, but. And we can speak specifically, less the question of whom it is impermissible to marry, but rather, why does anyone so compromise, and who can we serve those in a tangle? For surely it is a settling for less than God that is the why. And finally we can speak metaphorically, for we are married to many wives in this way. I am not tearing my clothes for my church promiscuity, I am not pulling out my beard for all the adulterous comfort capitalism's excesses afford me. Was it love or fear of the cold 10v9 that swept us into the arms of Rv17? Oh I am undone. .. 9v9 Yet our God.