In Psalm 100, we have an invitation to come into God’s presence and serve him with gladness. We do this because of his good character and his care for us, his people, in so many ways. The returned exiles might not have always felt that joy in worship and we might struggle at times too. They were looking forward and we look back on God’s greatest expression of his steadfast love – sending the Good Shepherd, Jesus. We reflect on God’s Word to “Know the Lord” and be reminded of his goodness, which shapes our lives of service.
We are looking forward to their visit to us on Thursday night October 13th for a shared meal at 6pm in our hall, followed by an update on their ministry at 7:30pm. All are welcome!
PS: Dennis promises that he has trimmed his beard!
There are lots of men in the Bible. 956 to be exact. Ezra is one of them though he is not as well known as some of the others. In Ezra 7:1-10 we are finally introduced to the man whose name is both the title and the author of the book. Ezra’s ancestral line is given to us to show just how important a man he was. He was born into a priestly line and could trace his heritage back to Aaron, the first high priest of Israel. Ezra was also a man of importance. He had the honour of being appointed by the Persian kind Artaxerxes, to return to Jerusalem to help the people re-establish themselves. Ezra was also a scribe and was therefore a student of the Scriptures, but it was not just with his head that he approached God’s Word, but also with his heart, to learn it and be changed by it. This is why Ezra is a great model for believers today to imitate.
Please pray for the camp and the preaching and the study of God’s Word on the seven signs of the Gospel of John.
See John 20:30-31 to get a hint of what it might all be about!
Four months after the dedication of the Temple, the people of Israel gathered together for a special Passover celebration in Ezra 6:19-22. This was the first Passover to be held since the time of exile in Babylon (90 years earlier) and so it was a very special time. The meaning of the Passover was defined by God in Exodus 12. It was a feast to mark the night in which the angel of death ‘passed over’ the people of God when he came to punish Pharaoh. At this joyful celebration of the Passover, it was significant that the meal was not restricted to Israelites by birth, but included all who through repentance and faith put their trust in the Lord. Since Jesus came to be our ‘Passover lamb’ believers are assured that his death in our place as a (substitute) not only means our sins are forgiven but also means we will celebrate the victory of His sacrifice for us forever.
After the work on the Temple of Israel had been completed under the good and sovereign hand of God, Ezra 6:16-18 tells how the people set about to dedicate their new place of worship. Although it was a great day of celebration and thanksgiving and was marked by great joy, the day was little comparison to the dedication of the first Temple that happened centuries before during Solomon’s rule. Nevertheless, the celebration was marked by the offering of many sacrifices and worship ‘according to the Law of Moses’. The way they worship and they way we worship is also defined in detail by our God. The New Testament picks up these them of the Temple and reminds believers that we are the temple in which God lives by His Spirit. And God’s Spirit lives in us because Jesus paid the price of our purchase with His blood. We are not our own but have been bought at great cost. Our worship, and all of our lives are therefore to be a reflection of this truth.