God’s Renewing Word of Thankfulness and Praise
Ezra 6:13-22: Following the completion of the Temple, it is dedicated, and those who had returned from exile celebrated the event. The reading concludes with a description of the people celebrating Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
THE TEMPLE IS DEDICATED
13 Then Governor Tattenai, Shethar Bozenai, and their fellow officials did exactly as the emperor had commanded. 14 The Jewish leaders made good progress with the building of the Temple, encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. They completed the Temple as they had been commanded by the God of Israel and by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, emperors of Persia. 15 They finished the Temple on the third day of the month Adar in the sixth year of the reign of Emperor Darius. 16 Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites, and all the others who had returned from exile—joyfully dedicated the Temple. 17 For the dedication they offered 100 bulls, 200 sheep, and 400 lambs as sacrifices, and 12 goats as offerings for sin, one for each tribe of Israel. 18 They also organized the priests and the Levites for the Temple services in Jerusalem, according to the instructions contained in the book of Moses.
19 The people who had returned from exile celebrated Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month of the following year. 20 All the priests and the Levites had purified themselves and were ritually clean. The Levites killed the animals for the Passover sacrifices for all the people who had returned, for the priests, and for themselves. 21 The sacrifices were eaten by all the Israelites who had returned from exile and by all those who had given up the pagan ways of the other people who were living in the land and who had come to worship the Lord God of Israel. 22 For seven days they joyfully celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread. They were full of joy because the Lord had made the emperor of Assyria favorable to them, so that he supported them in their work of rebuilding the Temple of the God of Israel.
TODAY’S KEY VERSE: EZRA 6:16
The people of Israel—the priests, the Levites, and all the others who had returned from exile— joyfully dedicated the Temple.
How is the dedication of the Temple described? How did the people celebrate the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread? What brought them joy? Within your community of faith, what brings you joy?
Loving God, with joy in my heart I worship you and daily celebrate your constant love and care. Teach me to follow your commands and give glory, honor, and praise to you. Amen.
Ezra 7:1-10: Ezra arrives in Jerusalem.