Read: Ezra 2
If we know anything about Ezra, we know he was meticulous about details.
Every once in a while, he takes a break from telling the story, and he shares a list of details. A list isn’t very exciting to read. And Chapter 2 of Ezra is a list. But there are hidden gems, even here.
In Chapter 2, Ezra records five groups returning to Jerusalem. But he begins by saying:
“They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua…”(Ezra 2:2)
So who were these two men?
Zerubbabel was the appointed governor for Judah.
But his appointment meant something to the Hebrew people, because he was also a rightful heir of King David. His presence as governor meant the Davidic line — from which they knew the Messiah would one day come — was restored.
As part of the royal line of David, the new governor of Judah gave the people hope.
Jeshua became the first High Priest in Jerusalem after the exile in Babylon.
His role was to restore the Jewish sacrifices and offerings after the altar was rebuilt. He became an instrument in bringing God’s people together so they could worship the Almighty in unity.
Together, these two men were instrument in the re-establishment of Jewish government and Jewish religion. One was part of the royal line and the other was part of the priestly line.
Among the five groups returning to Jerusalem, Ezra also makes note of the singers (Ezra 2:41).
This may seem superfluous to us today. Didn’t they have more important problems? After all, they needed to rebuild the temple, the entire city, plus their own homes. They had years’ worth of work ahead of them. How could singing help with all of that?
The Hebrews were known for their singing.
They came out of Egypt, walking through the Red Sea on dry land while singing! And now they were experiencing a second exodus.
Psalm 137:1-4 tells us that they “hung up their lyres” in Babylon. They had no reason for singing, no reason for rejoicing. But that’s all changed now. They’re coming home. And they have reason to sing again.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not part of any royal line. And I’m not part of a priestly line either. But I can sing. You wouldn’t ever catch me on one of those singing contests on TV, but I love to sing in worship to my Creator.
This is something we can all do.
We can follow in the footsteps of those who left Babylon and returned to Jerusalem. And we can sing praises to the One who has rescued us and delivered us and provided a way for us to return home.
Today, let us sing.
In a journal or notebook, write Ezra 2:68.
“After they arrived at the Lord’s house in Jerusalem, some of the family heads gave freewill offerings for the house of God in order to have it rebuilt on its original site.”
Or write any passage from today’s reading that stands out to you.
Thank you, Lord, for rescuing me from bondage and delivering me safely home. Because of you, I have reason to sing. And I want to give my voice in praise. Help me to become a generous giver, too, much like those who returned to Jerusalem and gave toward the rebuilding of the temple. Help me to remember that all I have is from you, and only you. In your name I pray, amen.