For both the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were clean. So they killed the passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile. (Ezra 6:20-21 NRSV)

The doorbell rang and Joe answered it, finding his old friend Ted standing next to a very shaggy and muddy dog.

Joe invited his friend in, and they went in to the living room to talk about old times. The dog jumped onto a really nice couch and then when to sleep. Upsetting Joe in the process.

Finally, Ted rose to leave. As he went out the door, Joe asked, "Aren't you forgetting your dog?"

"He's not my dog," Ted replied. "I thought he was yours."

This dog was lost and nobody seemed to want him, and the same was true of the Israelite people during their exile. In the sixth century B.C., there was only one thing you could say about the Jews: No one in their condition could ever recover! The Ministry of Pensions in Babylon kept sending the disability checks. And the Doctors of Theology had already signed the death certificate. The Jews were a wasted people, shot through the head when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple; shot through the arm when he scattered them throughout what's now Iraq and Iran.

But, God wanted them. Eventually, they came back to Jerusalem and began worshiping God once again.

God wants us too! Worship the living God!


Dear God, thank you for wanting me. Guide me in worshiping you everyday. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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