Day 1

Return from Exile

from the reading plan

Ezra 1:1-11, Jeremiah 29:4-14, Psalm 122:1-9

Is there a season in your life that you look back on and think: Those were the good old days? 

Perhaps it was childhood when life felt carefree. Maybe it was the increasing freedom and discovery of adolescence. Or early adulthood when it felt like nothing but possibility was ahead. 

We love how things were. Sometimes we even love how things are. And, boy, does time have a way of softening our memories. When things are good, we want them to stay this way forever. And when things are bad, we long for the good old days. 

But if we stayed in the past forever, assuming those were the best days of our lives we would be doubting that God has a new good still ahead for us. 

In the book of Ezra, the returning exiles recalled the glory days of Jerusalem, some having firsthand memories. God’s presence was with them in the temple, the city was protected, and the favor of the Lord was on them and against their enemies. As they returned to the city, they found themselves caught in the tension of looking backwards to what used to be—even relearning the law they had forgotten—while believing God would carry them into a new future. There’s a wonderful moment when they reestablish Passover and confess their sin. But that would also mean continuing to trust God with their future as they walked forward in obedience. 

Friends, not unlike the Israelites in the fifth and sixth centuries BC, by opening this book you are doing the important work of looking back to learn and remember what God has done. We’re so glad you’re here. Our encouragement to you in this reading plan is to also keep your eyes up—at the yet-unfulfilled promises God has made in His Word. No matter what the seasons of your life have looked like or look like even now, know this for certain: Christ is indeed doing a new thing!

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