Survey Plan: Day 23 made it through the first day back, and now it is on to day two. I am praying for you this week as it is the first week back from a long time away. Enjoy it. Work through it.

Take some time with me today and dig deep into the Word. Open up to the Old Testament. Now, go ahead and Read Ezra 3 and 6-7.

Now, go ahead and try to think of a time when you were an exile. You didn't belong where you once were. go ahead and try to imagine a time where at the very least you felt like you didn't belong. 

When I was in college my parent's moved to Kansas City (about 16 hours or so from Athens, GA) due to my father's job. It was so weird to live in Athens by myself for the next few years (until I was blessed to marry Kimberly), but what was even weirded was going back to Loganville or Snellville (where I grew up) knowing that I couldn't stay. My home was gone, and in a sense it was taken from me. At lest though I still had a home in Athens. 

Now go ahead and think through what you just read in Ezra. Now go ahead and think about the backstory of everything. The Jews had been taken captive years before. Israel and Judah had fallen to their captors, and they were taken captive. They truly became exiles. They could not live in their home. 

Go ahead and read Ezra 3:11 again. Crazy right! It puts into perspective a lot of things for myself. To begin with, I am reminded of God's great love for me. How he cares so deeply about me. How he sent his Son to die on the cross for my sins. How I am now his son since I am saved.

Yet, I also think about the words these Israelites spoke. Some thought they would never see their home again, while others actually did not. They saw their temple crushed. They had little hope. However, their God, who is our God too, Yahweh, is much greater than all of our thoughts, and he delivers them. They recognize his deliverance, and they praise him for who he is, and they praise and worship him for his care and love for them. 


Andrew Barnes