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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)

TITLE: Everlasting to Everlasting
By Suzanne R
02/09/11


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Close your eyes. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm – in – out – in – out. Relax your muscles one by one from your toes right up to the top of your forehead. Focus on some calm quiet music. Let your mind wander where it will as you meditate on these words:

Peace … centeredness … stability … harmony … hope

Now open your eyes.

Welcome back to reality. It’s a crazy world.

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In a court in Jerusalem, part of the Persian empire at that time, the leaders Nehemiah and Ezra stood with their people. They were hungry – a fast had been declared. They itched because of the scratchy sackcloth which had been crudely fashioned into clothing that would protect their modesty but not their skin. They rubbed dirt, not oil, into their hair. Some were grieving the loss of husbands, wives and children who had been banished from the community because they were foreign, not part of the people of God.

It would have been lunchtime had they been eating. Legs shook with weakness, yet only the weakest sat. A quarter of the day had been spent listening to the reading of the Law of the Lord, a document which had only recently been recovered. A quarter of the day had been spent in wretched repentance, confessing the sins of themselves and their ancestors, after which they fearfully worshipped the LORD, Jehovah, their God.

A hush descended on the crowd as eight Levites ascended the stairs of the Temple. It was not like that of Solomon’s Temple which the enemy had destroyed. The elderly in the community could remember still the brilliance of that structure, the vastness of the courtyards, the solemnity of the great hall, the richness of the embroidery curtaining the Temple. No, this was a far cry from the early Temple.

The eight Levites took deep breaths then together projected to the crowd voices imbued with the authority of God.

“Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.”

The weak struggled to their feet with the helping hands of those around them. Muddy streaks marked faces where the dirt from their heads had mingled with sweat and tears of heartfelt repentance.

The Levites continued with their sing-song cadences, lifting prayers on behalf of the people to the great Jehovah, and in praying, they reviewed the history of the world thus far.

Creation and the unswerving worship of every created thing – God’s choice of Abram and his obedient response to God - the suffering of their ancestors in Egypt - the redemption of God’s people through the great exodus - the Law – provisions for the people of God.

Yet arrogance and stubbornness had resulted in disobedience. Because of God’s great compassion He did not abandon them but provided for them even as He punished them. When they finally returned to Him, He rescued them. And so the cycle continued.

‘Arrogance – disobedience – rebellion – punishment – repentance – delivery’

This was a day when they stood before the Lord their God and once again repented. It was a day when they would make a binding agreement with God, in writing, the Levites and the priests putting their seals on it, promising to keep God’s law. It was a promise which history would prove they did not keep. Again.

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2400 years have passed since that day. There have been wars, revolutions, times of peace and plenty, weather system changes and exploration undertaken within and beyond our world. Religions, languages and empires have risen and waned.

The same God watches over His people still.

How Jehovah, the LORD, must sigh as He watches us work through cycles of obedience and arrogance, of blessing and punishment. We do it as individuals, as churches, as nations and as generations. Hasn’t He seen enough, watching from before ancient days to far, far, far in the future and beyond?

The life-giving truth is that He has done more than simply watch.

He sent His Son to rescue us from the hopelessness of it all.

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Close your eyes. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm – in – out – in – out. Relax your muscles one by one from your little toe right up to the top of your forehead. Focus on some worship music.

Repent.

Peace … centeredness … stability … harmony … HOPE

Open your eyes.

Though we live in a crazy world, in God we have hope.

“Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.”

(Nehemiah 9:5 NIV)


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This article has been read 407 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 02/14/11
“Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.”

(Nehemiah 9:5 NIV) -- this is an everlasting message, for sure.
Nancy Bucca02/15/11
Expertly crafted, very well written from beginning to end. Love the message.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/17/11
Congratulations for placing 29th overall!
B Brenton03/12/11
Beautiful, simplistic as usual. I regret not reading your writing in some time. <3