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Nehemiah 9:6-15, Ezra Reminds Israel of their Roots


And Ezra said: ‘You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.
— Nehemiah 9:6

RCL Daily Devotion for Thursday, November 29

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Woodcut for  Die Bibel in Bildern , 1860, by  Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld .

Woodcut for Die Bibel in Bildern, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

Ezra the scribe lived at a time when many in Israel had forgotten their roots. Ezra was all about purification, even to the point of tearing his clothing when he discovered that Jewish men had been marrying non-Jewish brides. Of course, the Bible also bears witness to the fact that God's actions could come outside Judaism (Ruth, for example). Still, we can today gather meaning from Ezra's calling—God is God alone, and God was, is, and will be the creator and sustainer of the universe, forever.

I often wonder about creation—existence itself, really. Why is there something and not nothing? As theoretical physicists suggest, creation came from nothing (ex nihilo) billions of years ago. Whether it started with a big bang, or otherwise, we cannot say. But what we do know is that creation and our very existence is a mystery. I choose to embrace that mystery, firmly believing that there is something greater than ourselves at work. Reminding myself of this isn't something that brings frustration or despair. Rather, it urges me forward to believe more vehemently still. 

Perhaps the people in Ezra's time needed that reminder as well. It's so easy to forget the wonder of existence itself and take our lives for granted. Reminders of who is God and who is created sets a firm foundation of a forward-leaning faith. I'm grateful for that reminder.

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Nehemiah 9:6-15 (NRSV)

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