Dear 365 Readers,
Well, I hope that you have been more consistent than I have with the readings… I think I missed the last 20 chapters of 2 Chronicles. May has been challenging. So, if you’re behind like me, you have a couple of choices:
- Lie down and give up on Bible reading forever,
- Do a big catch-up session where you read (or listen) to what you missed,
- Just start reading and let go of the parts you missed.
I personally hope (a) isn’t your choice! I would like to recommend (b) if you’re not too far behind, or (c) since we are starting the VERY SHORT book of Ezra on Tuesday! Join us for Ezra and Nehemiah, they’re not so intimidating and then you’ll know what happens when the exiles return to Jerusalem.
You know by now that the Southern Kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylon and taken into exile. Then Babylon was conquered by the Persians. The Persian rulers had an official policy to allow conquered peoples to practice their own religions, and they offered the exiles an opportunity to return to Jerusalem. Please note that the exiles returned in three (3) waves – see the chart on my 365 resources page. The book of Ezra tells the story of the first two waves and the rebuilding of the temple, and there is a twenty (20) year gap between chapters 4 and 5. Nehemiah tells the story of the last wave and the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem.
Ezra and Nehemiah are the story of a new beginning! Israel at this point is less a nation and political entity, and much more like a church, struggling against sin on the inside and distractions on the outside. Consider what spiritual and leadership lessons can be drawn from these two books as you read.