The Second Temple Is Completed

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Easter, Year B    Ezra 5—7

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

Haggai and Zechariah, two prophets of the Bible, appear on the scene to “jump start” the rebuilding of the Temple. Another letter of complaint is sent to Darius, King of Persia. He digs through the archives for the original decree of the former King, Cyrus. Yes, Cyrus had decreed the rebuilding of the Temple. Darius now forbids altering the decree. You will read what would happen if anyone did!

The second Temple was completed in 515 B.C. This Temple was standing in Jesus’ time, with further magnificent additions done by Herod the Great.

Ezra, the holy teacher, and lover of the Word, himself leads a group of persons on the return. The phrase “The hand of our God,” occurs six times in chapter 7 and the next. Greater than the hands of those who oppose, is the hand of the Lord upon this holy man.

The Reading for Today


Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”
During the remainder of the Easter Season, we read the Book of Ezra.


Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

The Joy of Worship…and More Waiting

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Easter, Year B
Ezra 3—4

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter. Click on the image.

After seventy years, the sweet, sacred smell of sacrifice returns to the Promised Land. Ground breaking ceremonies take place for the new Temple destroyed when wicked Nebuchadnezzar razed Jerusalem and held God’s people captive in Babylon. A great shout breaks out. The word used in Hebrew, teru’ah, is the loudest of noises that humans can make; it is a combination of shouts, weeping for joy and blasts of trumpets.

However, the neighbors complain. They write letters of protest to the then Persian King Artaxerxes who decrees that the rebuilding cease.

The Lord’s will may be slowed up, but it cannot be stopped. There are two things that the Chosen People need to learn—fidelity to the Lord’s will and patience. Do you have any personal reflections about these? They are gifts of the Spirit.


Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”
During the remainder of the Easter Season, we read the Book of Ezra.


Daily Bible Breaths

Version for Children and Families for This Week

Over eleven hundred “Firestarters” and readings threading through the Bible in three years. Ebook Available for $6 Click here

God Arises

Psalm 68

The psalm begins with the marching cry of Moses from Numbers 10:35. Military images abound, reminding us of the adage: “Is God on our side?” I prefer this alternative: “Am I on God’s side?”

For God sides with the rejected and forgotten expressed in the psalm by the fatherless and the widow. If you have compassion for these and others in our society, then the grace of the Lord will flow through you in a powerful way.

Paul quotes today’s verse in Ephesians 4:8 in the description of the Ascension of Jesus into heaven; you might turn to that chapter of Ephesians as a counterpoint to the psalm for today.

God is beyond us, yet within us, through the Holy Spirit whom we celebrate Sunday in Pentecost.

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

The Reading for Today


This is the Seventh Week in Easter, Year B
Wednesdays re dedicated to the Psalms,
One a week over the three-year cycle.



Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

A Model for Intercessory Prayer

Ezra 8—10

One would think that after the return to the way of life of their ancestors, God’s people would settle down and finally obey the Lord. Wrong! Just as happened soon after the Temple of Solomon was constructed, God’s people wander from the ways of the Lord.

Ezra is a model for intercessors. Without finger pointing, as a true priest, he represents the people before the Lord and expresses the sins of intermarrying as though they were his own personal sins. Jesus did the same. For our sake, “He who knew no sin, [became] sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Ezra desires to lift the people to God. This kind of prayer moves God. In Jesus’ name, pray the same way.

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

The Reading for Today


This is the Seventh Week in Easter, Year B
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”
During the remainder of the Easter Season, we read the Book of Ezra.


Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

We’re Going Back!

Tuesday of the Third Week in Easter, Year B
Ezra 1-2

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter. Click on the image.

For the next four Tuesdays, we will consider a book of the Bible about another “Good Shepherd” who led God’s people from exile in Babylon, back to the Promised Land. His name is Ezra.

Well before he led them back, he was responsible for creating a longing in the exiled people for God’s Word. With the destruction of The First Temple in 587 B.C., the synagogue in local communities becomes more and more vital in bonding the exiled people of God to their God. In place of sacrifice, study of the Word becomes essential, with the example and wisdom of Ezra, upon whom was “The hand of the Lord.”

In these chapters is the text of the decree of King Cyrus of Persia. He had defeated the treacherous Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Think of the list of names as though you are looking in awe at the names of the immigrants who came to the United States, arriving at Ellis Island off New York City.


Tuesdays are dedicated to the Prophets.
During the remainder of the Easter Season, we read the Book of Ezra.


Daily Bible Breaths

Version for Children and Families for this week

Over eleven hundred “Firestarters” and readings threading through the Bible in three years. Ebook Available for $6 Click here