Have you ever been homesick?
I remember when I was first old enough to spend the night away from home. I packed a bag with my favorite jammies, tucked in my toothbrush and couldn’t wait for my mom to pull the car into the driveway at my friend’s house.
It was all kinds of fun until the sun went down and it got dark outside. Then my stomach started feeling a little queasy, and I wondered what my mom and brother were doing at home.
When the book of Ezra opens, it was 538 B.C., and God’s people were plenty homesick. For 70 years, they had been living in a land not their own. They were ready to pack up their jammies and toothbrushes and just.go.home. The people of God felt like a bunch of homesick gradeschoolers who had been thrown into unfamiliar surroundings with people who ate different things for dinner.
Oh, they made the best of their situation. And truly, over time, it wasn’t the worst of all situations for the Jews. In fact, once the Babylonian king realized that there was nothing he could do to the Jews that their God couldn’t save them from, even a fiery furnace, he relaxed some of the oppression. They were even allowed to own land and be employed in regular jobs among the empire. They just couldn’t go home.
And then something interesting happened. Ol’ King Neb died, Babylon was overthrown by Persia at the hand of King Cyrus, and God began to orchestrate the homegoing of his loved ones. In two groups, they went h-o-m-e, one group led by a man named Zerubbabel, and the other led by Ezra.
Not only did Cyrus allow the return of the Jews to their homeland, he gave them money to start rebuilding their temple. This, as they say, was a HUGEBIGDEAL.
So, in chapter three of Ezra’s account of this HUGEBIGDEAL, we read that when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they dressed the priests in their priestly apparel, put trumpets to their lips, put cymbals in their hands, and SANG. They sang and wept tears of joy, and the “noise was heard afar off.”
Are you in a homesick place? Do you feel a little like you’re being held captive, away from your land of destiny? There are always seasons of uncertainty. I’m in one right this very minute! But God’s love to Israel endures forever, and so does his love for you and for me. He knows where we are, and he has a plan for our deliverance. He has a plan, dear friend, and we’ll soon witness its foundation being laid.
Then, what will we do?
We will put the trumpets to our lips, clash the cymbals together in our hands, and sing. Yes, we’ll stand with our fellow believers and, with praise and thanksgiving, we’ll SING, dear friends!
And the noise will be heard afar off.
Encouraging intentional adventure, with praise and thanksgiving that can be heard for miles down the road,
Memorization tip: Tell the story of Ezra and the Israelites to your grandchildren while you build a visual “foundation” together. Maybe a pizza crust? Yum! This is one of the longest of our 66 Verses to Memorize, so have fun and be creative with memory techniques, like hand motions or sign language. Kynzie’s hand motion for “thanksgiving” looks like stuffing your face quickly with repeated full pretend forks.
(Note: This is #15 in my series of 66 Verses to Memorize – one from each book of the Bible. My granddaughter and I are memorizing our way through the list together; however, it’s a great list for anyone who wants to hide more of God’s word in his heart.)