Day 10

Preparing to Return to Jerusalem

from the Ezra reading plan

Ezra 8:1-36, Jeremiah 31:1-11, Jeremiah 31:16-17, 2 Peter 3:9

BY Asheritah Ciuciu

In some of my favorite childhood memories, I’m running into my father’s arms to be swooped up into a ginormous hug. Sometimes he would even throw me toward the expansive blue sky, the air whooshing out of my lungs until I was caught up again, safe and secure in his arms. 

That feeling of being suspended in mid-air, though: I still feel that way sometimes. Whether it’s anxiety about a job situation, uncertainty about finances, or worry over a diagnosis, we all face moments when we realize that if God doesn’t intervene, we’re in big trouble.

Before heading back to Jerusalem, Ezra faced that same realization: without God’s protection and provision, they would never make it to Jerusalem. The Israelites’ track record had little to recommend them, and if God’s answer were dependent on their good behavior, they were toast. 

So they humbled themselves, and God was receptive to His people’s prayers. Because even when we fail, God’s faithfulness holds steady.

Despite Israel’s disobedience, God did not allow sin to derail His good plan. His own faithful character guarantees that His promises will come true in the end whether we live to see those fulfillments or not. Unlike humans—who sometimes keep their promises and other times abandon them—God’s heart of faithful love means He will always come through.

Throughout Scripture we see God’s heart bend toward compassion, forgiveness, and grace. Indeed, “The one who scattered Israel will gather him” (Jeremiah 31:10). He is the promise-keeping, covenant-fulfilling, sin-forgiving God. His unrelenting grace brings the prodigal home, envelops him in the best robe, and declares him “son” once more.

Like Israel’s return to the promised land in today’s reading, we also get to return to our heavenly Father in repentance and humility, to find Him waiting for us with open arms. 

How striking to read in Jeremiah 31:20 that God’s “inner being yearns” for His children to repent, to turn from their patterns of sin, and to return home as the cherished children of God He calls His own! Though God kept His promise to discipline His unfaithful people with exile, He also kept His promise to bring them home to the promised land again. Even when Israel was guilty of apostasy, God wouldn’t let sin get the final word. Rather, His own faithfulness guaranteed that His promises would be fulfilled, no matter what. 

God’s heart beats with compassion. His faithfulness means that no matter whether we’re having a good or bad day, we can always find refuge in Him. So we can throw ourselves on God’s mercy, approaching His throne of grace with confidence, knowing that He’s been patiently waiting for us to return to Him all along.

And because of Jesus, the Father’s same faithful love and compassion is poured out on us as well, welcoming prodigals of all ages to return home to Him again. We are safe and secure in His everlasting arms.

Post Comments (54)

54 thoughts on "Preparing to Return to Jerusalem"

  1. Chelsey Mc Cluskey says:

    I recently returned back to church and am so fired up to be living in truth once more – I don’t think I have understood in a long time what it really means to be living in the faith so I’m excited to restart my journey! Reading the Bible and diving in, listening while worshipping and taking it all in – I am so much more receptive now. Even though I grew up going to church, as a child and teen it’s a completely different perspective. I wouldn’t say I lost my faith as I did attend Bible studies and go to church on and off from college through adulthood but I think many of you will understand when I say that reflecting back it was like going through the motions and because it was expected and more of a habit. I’m becoming a member of the new church I’m going to in the next few weeks and being baptized so I’m pretty excited!

  2. Kimberly Vohs says:

    This may sound silly, but my son’s name comes from todays reading. When I found out I was pregnant I was hoping for a boy and I wanted a name that started with “Z”. I flipped open my Bible and my eyes landed on Ezra 8:8 “Zebadiah son of Michael.” My husbands name is Michael. I looked up Zebadiah and it means gift from God. I don’t often play bible roulette but this was one time I think it was the Lord’s leading. We call my son Zeb for short ☺️

  3. Teresa Donley says:

    VICTORIA E – I’m praying for you to have God’s peace and comfort as you face difficulties at work. And I’m asking God to give you the wisdom to handle each issue as it arrives.

  4. ClaireB says:


  5. Victoria E says:

    Theresa Donley I am praying for you! Cee Gee praise God for your good results. Ladies the problems at my work are nonstop, I cried yet again today and thought about quitting but my husband is convinced a resolution to the ongoing madness is imminent. If I can ask again for prayer for the ongoing issues at my work for peace and wisdom through them. Thank you!

  6. Kimberly Z says:

    @MERCY – praying for to have a well rounded conversation with your manager! My heart completely understands what you’re going through. Almost a year to the DATE I was in the same situation. I got an offer from a different company and my only option was to go talk to the manager about a raise when she had only been working there for about two months. A very hard situation when she doesn’t really know me or my work ethic. I know the Lord will guide you through exactly what you need to say. @THERESA DONLEY – Praying your diagnosis comes back negative and you’re able to find the answers you need to live a healthy life. What a great reminder today. Lifting ALL of you women up In prayer. @SARAH D – praying your school year is going well.

  7. Tami C says:

    Thank you for all of your beautiful prayers!! So full of faith and wisdom. They have boosted my spirit and given me direction for my prayers for Chela. Sometimes I just don’t know what to pray. Praying for your requests also @Teresa Donley – praying for Gods perfect peace to surround you. For His wisdom for the you and the doctors to get to correct diagnosis. And for complete healing in the mighty name of Jesus.

  8. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would remember that I can alsoways come back to God’s loving arms. No matter how far I feel o may have stumbled, I can always come back .

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