With the wisdom of your God … appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice … —all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach any who do not know them.
Ezra had the privilege of leading some of his people back from exile in the land of Babylon. But going back to Jerusalem was not just about reclaiming the land. It was also about reclaiming the law God had given to his people Israel. Ezra was to set up leaders and judges to administer the law of God. The people’s return from exile would not be complete until they rededicated themselves to living for God.
Ezra’s story is one of many in a series of journeys, exiles, and returns in the Old Testament. For the people of Israel, these events often resulted from varying levels of commitment to God’s law.
We also might feel the tug of exile and return in our life. With so many changes going on in this world, we may wonder where God is leading us. Through it all, God’s call to live for him remains constant.
The stories of God’s people show us that even if we love God and know his instructions, we will still fail to keep God’s law. Yet we ought not despair. Jesus himself has made us right with God. Our response is to follow God’s good law: to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (see Matthew 22:37-39). And we can trust God to lead us.
Divine Judge, we confess that we have not always lived ac-cording to your law. Please do not judge us by our actions, but by Christ’s perfect sacrifice. In his name alone we pray. Amen.
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