August 18

August 18

Zerubbabel — The temple rebuilding project is stopped & the church is a temple.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: Ezra 3

Reading 2: Ezra 4

Reading 3: Ephesians 2:19-22

Success and setbacks go together. In the tides of human history, just as in the oceans of the world, God has ordained tides of fortune and misfortune, opposition and overcoming, setbacks and success.

Today’s readings start with success – the returning exiles resume sacrifices to God, even before the foundation of the Temple is laid, and this is ahead of any other rebuilding in the city. But there are enemies among them, and they refuse to allow those enemies to participate in their work. So in revenge the enemies make trouble for them over several generations until king Artaxerxes orders the work stopped.

So it appears that God’s will is thwarted, and that His people will again be defeated, but God has all authority, and His Story (History) is written by Him. Soon setbacks will be turned into success once more, and the ungodly who had to be excluded in Ezra’s day will be included in the Church. Such is the difference between the Old and the New Covenants, between the nation of Israel and the Church. The new is the fulfillment of the old. Not a replacement but a completion and transformation.

You and I are beneficiaries of God’s grace in that transformation – Gentiles who are now insiders, built together around the cornerstone of Jesus.

Have a great day!

Mark.

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