This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.
“Now these are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away…to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his own city.” (Ezra 2:1)
Ezra 2 is one of those chapters that’s filled with names that are hard to pronounce. It’s tempting to skip all those names but take a moment with me and think about what this chapter was about.
The nation of Judah had been living in Babylon for seventy years. When the door opened for the people to return to the land of Israel, there were relatively few who were willing to go back. Worldly, pleasure-filled Babylon had become their home. Their children and grandchildren had been born and raised in Babylon. The thought of packing up an entire household and trekking hundreds of miles to a land of rubble was not exactly a trip to Disneyland.
The return was important on many levels. It had been foretold by the prophets. The rebuilding of the Temple and establishing of the nation was tied to the coming Messiah. Most important, it was making a statement that they were no longer going to live according to the world’s standards but return to worship and serve God.
Take a moment to read these names. These were brave people willing to take a stand. They left Babylon. They returned to God. Would your name have been on that list? Are you willing to “return”?