February 4, 2012
Dear Chapel Friends,
I know that Peggy will engage you in a close reading of Ezra, so I’ll just chip in some of the patterns that surfaced as I read chapters 4-10 this week.
- Consistent emphasis on the injunction (to Ezra’s people and to us) to “build a house unto our God” (4:3, 5:2, 6:14, 7:20, 8:36, 9:9) and to repent there whenever we waver from the charge (10:1, 10:6, 10:11)
- Consistent wavering from the charge to build a church and make sacrifices there (4:15, 9:2, 9:10, 10:10)
- Consistent punishment of those who waver (6:11, 7:26, 9:15, 10:8, 10:11)
- Consistent emphasis on God punishing us less than we deserve and faithfully renewing the Covenant to ensure the completion of his Plan (9:13, 10:3)
- Consistent emphasis on Ezra as God’s chosen leader, the one with the “prepared heart” and “the hand of the Lord upon [him],” qualities he needs to get the House built and the people home (7:6, 7:10, 8:18 ) so that he might “teach them” (7:25)
The first four bullets suggest that Old Testament themes resemble those in the New Testament more closely than we sometimes acknowledge; the last bullet seems particularly apropos of our search for a pastor and of our need to support Joey.
Tomorrow, Sunday, I’m setting out in search of a church. Stay tuned!