Friday, February 9, 2018

Year 8, Day 40: Ezra 1 & 2

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Ezra 1 & 2 is a rollercoaster of emotion.  Honestly.  I know it doesn’t read that way on the surface, but it truly does show us the awesomely humbling power of God and how it relates to us as human beings.  I’m going to take a closer look.

Think back to the Exodus.  There was a pre-iron age civilization.  In Egypt, even the most conservative estimate of the Hebrew population rose to a half-million.  There could have been as many as two million people.  God brought that host out of Egypt and created the Hebrew nation.

Unfortunately, they disobeyed.  The Hebrew people went into decline and then went into captivity.  Israel fell into captivity under Assyria.  Judah went into captivity under Babylon.  That huge host of people was reduced to being servants of another nation.

Here in Ezra we hear how God brings the people out once more.  This time, there is no great Exodus; God uses a Persian king to free His own people without any plaguelike depictions of His power.  The number of Hebrew people who come back are less than a half of a hundred thousand – a shy cry of the possible two million that came out of Egypt.  Nothing in this congregation of the Hebrew nation matches the first one.

Nothing, that is, except the God who is empowering it to happen.  God doesn’t need massive numbers of followers.  God doesn’t need great displays of power.  God is enough all by Himself.  That’s why this chapter is the gamut of emotion.

On one hand, this chapter is incredible humbling.  God doesn’t need us to be great in number or in person.  He doesn’t need us to be powerful.  He doesn’t accept us because of our power or prestige or anything else.  Yet, this chapter is exhilarating because we can recognize that God is incredibly powerful!  He can make a nation out of millions of slaves.  He can rebuild the nation with less than two percent of that with which He originally started. He is an incredibly awesome God who is able to do anything with big or small things.