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Day 269 – The Day of Small Things


Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read that the temple rebuilding was stopped in Ezra 4 and started again in Ezra 5. Officials asked who gave them permission to do so. They forgot that Cyrus had sent the people back to the Holy Land with instructions. It is important to keep track of the details. After the temple is built, the people celebrate Passover.

It is easy to be discouraged by a lack of movement in our lives. Even though it can feel insignificant at times, small things do make a difference and will lead to a celebration.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Ezra 5

1 When the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel who was over them,

2 Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak began rebuilding the Temple of God in Jerusalem; with them were the prophets of God, supporting them.

3 It was then that Tattenai governor of Transeuphrates, Shethar-Bozenai and their associates came to them and asked, ‘Who gave you the order to rebuild this Temple and complete this structure?

4 What are the names of the men putting up this building?’

5 But the eyes of their God were watching over the elders of the Jews, so they were not forced to stop until a report could reach Darius and an official reply about the matter could be received from him.

6 A copy of the letter which Tattenai, governor of Transeuphrates, Shethar-Bozenai and his associates, the officials in Transeuphrates, sent to King Darius.

7 They sent him a report which ran as follows: ‘To King Darius, hearty greetings!

8 ‘The king should be informed that we went to the province of Judah, to the Temple of the great God, which is being rebuilt with large stones; beams are being embedded in the walls; the work is being carried out energetically and is making good progress.

9 Questioning these elders, we asked them, “Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and complete this structure?”

10 We also asked them their names, to inform you, so that we could record the names of the men who were their leaders.

11 ‘They gave us the following answer, “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth; we are rebuilding the Temple built many years ago, which a great king of Israel had built and completed.

12 But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he handed them over to Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldaean king of Babylon who destroyed this Temple and deported the people to Babylon.

13 In the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, however, King Cyrus issued an official order that this Temple of God should be rebuilt;

14 furthermore, those gold and silver articles belonging to the Temple of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had removed from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to the temple of Babylon, King Cyrus in turn removed from the temple of Babylon and handed back to a certain Sheshbazzar whom he had appointed governor.

15 He said to him, ‘Take these articles; go and return them to the Temple which is in Jerusalem and let the Temple of God be rebuilt on its original site;’

16 this Sheshbazzar then came and laid the foundations of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, and it has been under construction ever since, and is not yet finished.”

17 ‘Hence, if it please the king, let search be made in the royal treasuries in Babylon, to find out if it is true that an official order was issued by King Cyrus for this temple of God in Jerusalem to be rebuilt; and let the king’s decision on this matter be sent to us.’

Ezra 6

1 Then, on the order of King Darius, search was made in the archives deposited in the treasuries in Babylon

2 and a scroll was found in the fortress of Ecbatana, which ran as follows: ‘Memorandum.

3 ‘In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued this order: “Temple of God in Jerusalem. “The Temple is to be rebuilt as a place of offering sacrifice and its foundations retained. Its height is to be sixty cubits, its width sixty cubits,

4 with three layers of large stones and one layer of timber. The cost is to be met by the royal treasury.

5 Furthermore, the gold and silver articles belonging to the Temple of God which Nebuchadnezzar took from the Temple in Jerusalemand brought to Babylon are to be given back and returned to the temple in Jerusalem, each to its proper place, and deposited in the Temple of God.”

6 ‘Hence, Tattenai governor of Transeuphrates, Shethar-Bozenai and your associates, the officials of Transeuphrates, keep away from there!

7 Leave the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews alone, to get on with their work on that Temple of God; they are permitted to rebuild that Temple of God on that site.

8 And herewith are my instructions as to how you will assist these elders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that Temple of God: the cost is to be paid in full to these men from the royal revenue, that is, from the taxes of Transeuphrates, and without interruption.

9 And whatever is required — young bulls, rams, lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, oil, as the priests in Jerusalem request — is to be given them day by day without fail,

10 so that they may offer sacrifices acceptable to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

11 Furthermore I have issued an instruction that if anyone disobeys this order, a beam is to be torn from his house, he is to be impaled on it and his house is to be reduced to a rubbish-heap for his offence;

12 and may the God who has caused his name to live there overthrow the king of any people who dares to defy this and destroy that Temple of God in Jerusalem! I, Darius, have issued this order. Let it be punctiliously obeyed!’

13 Tattenai governor of Transeuphrates, Shethar-Bozenai and their associates punctiliously obeyed the instructions sent by King Darius;

14 and the elders of the Jews made good progress over their building, thanks to the prophetic activity of the prophet Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo, completing the reconstruction in accordance with the command of the God of Israel and the order of Cyrus and of Darius.

15 This Temple was completed on the twenty-third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

16 The Israelites — the priests, the Levites and the remainder of the exiles — joyfully celebrated the dedication of this Temple of God;

17 for the dedication of this Temple of God they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs and, as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he-goats, corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel.

18 Then they installed the priests in their orders and the Levites in their positions for the ministry of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, as prescribed in the Book of Moses.

19 The exiles celebrated the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.

20 The Levites, as one man, had purified themselves; all were pure, so they sacrificed the Passover for all the exiles, for their brothers the priests and for themselves.

21 So the Israelites who had returned from exile and all those who had renounced the filthy practices of the people of the country to join them in resorting to Yahweh, God of Israel, ate the Passover.

22 For seven days they joyfully celebrated the feast of Unleavened Bread, for Yahweh had given them cause to rejoice, having moved the heart of the king of Assyria in their favour to support them in their work on the Temple of God, the God of Israel.

Zechariah 4

1 The angel who was talking to me came back and roused me as though rousing someone who was asleep.

2 And he asked me, ‘What do you see?’ I replied, ‘As I look, there is a lamp-stand entirely of gold with a bowl at the top of it; it holds seven lamps, with seven openings for the lamps on it.

3 By it are two olive trees, one to the right and the other to the left.’

4 I then said to the angel who was talking to me, ‘What are those things, my lord?’

5 The angel who was talking to me replied, ‘Do you not know what they are?’ I said, ‘No, my lord.’

6 He then gave me this answer,’These seven are the eyes of Yahweh, which range over the whole world.’

7 ‘What are you, great mountain? Beside Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! He will bring out the keystone while it is cheered with Hurrah! Hurrah!’

8 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

9 ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this Temple; his hands will finish it. (Then you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you.)

10 A day of little things, no doubt, but who would dare despise it? How they will rejoice when they see the chosen stone in the hands of Zerubbabel!’

11 Then I went on to ask him, ‘What is the meaning of these two olive trees, to right and left of the lamp-stand?’

12 (And I went on to ask him further, ‘What is the meaning of the two olive branches discharging oil through the two golden openings?’)

13 He replied, ‘Do you not know what they are?’ I said, ‘No, my lord.’

14 He said, ‘These are the two anointed ones in attendance on the Lord of the whole world. This is the word of Yahweh with regard to Zerubbabel, ‘Not by might and not by power, but by my spirit’ — says Yahweh Sabaoth.

Zechariah 5

1 Again raising my eyes, I had a vision. There was a flying scroll.

2 The angel who was talking to me said, ‘What do you see?’ I replied, ‘I see a flying scroll; it is twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.’

3 He then said to me, ‘This is God’s curse sweeping across the face of the whole country; for, according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished and, according to what it says on the other, everyone who commits perjury in my name will be banished from it.

4 I am going to release it — Yahweh Sabaoth declares — for it to enter the house of the thief and of anyone who commits perjury in my name, for it to settle deep within his house and consume it, timber, stone and all.’

5 The angel who was talking to me appeared and said to me, ‘Raise your eyes, and see what this is, going along.’

6 I said, ‘What is it?’ He said, ‘It is a bushel measure going along.’ He went on, ‘This is their guilt throughout the country.’

7 At this, a disc of lead was raised, and I saw a woman sitting inside the barrel.

8 He said, ‘This is Wickedness.’ And he rammed her back into the barrel and jammed its mouth shut with the mass of lead.

9 I raised my eyes, and there were two women appearing. The wind caught their wings — they had wings like a stork’s; they raised the barrel midway between earth and heaven.

10 I then said to the angel who was talking to me, ‘Where are they taking the barrel?’

11 He replied, ‘To build a temple for it in the land of Shinar and make a pedestal on which to put it.’

Zechariah 6

1 Again I raised my eyes, and this is what I saw: four chariots coming out between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze.

2 The first chariot had red horses, the second chariot had black horses,

3 the third chariot had white horses and the fourth chariot had vigorous, piebald horses.

4 I asked the angel who was talking to me, ‘What are these, my lord?’

5 The angel replied, ‘They are the four winds of heaven now leaving, after attending the Lord of the whole world.

6 The black horses are leaving for the land of the north; the white are following them, and the piebald are leaving for the land of the south.’

7 They came out vigorously, eager to patrol the world. He said to them, ‘Go and patrol the world.’ And they patrolled the world.

8 He called to me and said, ‘Look, the ones going to the land of the north brought my spirit to rest on the land of the north.’

9 Then the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

10 ‘Collect silver and gold from the exiles, from Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, then (you yourself go the same day) go to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah, who has arrived from Babylon.

11 Then, taking the silver and gold, make a crown and place it on the head of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak.

12 And say this to him, “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Here is a man whose name is Branch; where he is, there will be a branching out (and he will rebuild Yahweh’s sanctuary).

13 Yes, he is the one who will rebuild Yahweh’s sanctuary; he will wear the royal insignia and sit on his throne and govern, with a prieston his right. Perfect peace will reign between these two.

14 And the crown will serve Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah and the son of Zephaniah as a memorial of favour in Yahweh’s sanctuary.

15 And those now far away will come and work on the building of Yahweh’s sanctuary.” ‘Then you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you. It will happen if you diligently obey the voice of Yahweh your God.’

Proverbs 20:8-11

8 A king enthroned on the judgement seat with one look scatters all that is evil.

9 Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am purified of my sin’?

10 One weight here, another there; here one measure, there another: both alike are abhorrent to Yahweh.

11 A young man’s character appears in what he does, if his behaviour is pure and straight.


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