For his anger is but for a moment. His favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
Ezra Goes Up to Jerusalem
1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra–
the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah,
the son of Hilkiah, 2 the son of Shallum,
the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,
3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah,
the son of Meraioth, 4 the son of Zerahiah,
the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,
5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas,
the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest
6 —this Ezra went up from Babylon. He was a skilled scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king granted him everything he requested, because the hand of the Lord his God was on him.
7 Some of the Israelites, including some of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.
8 Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God on him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra
11 Now this is the copy of the letter that king Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the Lord’s commandments and of his statutes to Israel:
12 Artaxerxes, king of kings,
To Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven.
13 I do hereby decree, that all those of the people of Israel and their priests and the Levites, in my realm who intend of their own free will to go to Jerusalem, go with you, 14 because you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God which is in your hand, 15 and to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem, 16 and all the silver and gold that you will find in all the province of Babylon, with the free will offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:
17 You shall, with all diligence, buy with this money, bulls, rams, lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings and shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem. 18 Whatever seems good to you and to your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do that according to the will of your God. 19 The vessels that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20 Whatever more will be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to give, give it out of the king’s treasure house.
21 I, yes I, Artaxerxes the king, do hereby decree to all the treasurers who are beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, it shall be done with all diligence, 22 up to 7,500 pounds of silver, and to 500 bushels of wheat, and to 550 gallons of wine, and to 550 gallons of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23 Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done exactly for the house of the God of heaven, for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
24 Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll, on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants, or laborers of this house of God.
25 You, Ezra, according to your God’s wisdom that you possess, appoint magistrates and judges, who may judge all the people who are beyond the River, who all know the laws of your God, and teach him who does not know them. 26 Whoever will not do the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed on him with all diligence, whether it is to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.
Ezra Praises God
27 Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem, 28 and has extended loving kindness to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. I was strengthened according to the Lord my God’s hand on me, and I gathered together leading men from Israel to go up with me.
The Exiles who Returned with Ezra
1 Now these are the family leaders, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylon in the reign of Artaxerxes the king:
2 Of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom.
Of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel.
Of the sons of David, Hattush.
3 Of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah,
and with him were listed by genealogy of the males, 150.
4 Of the sons of Pahathmoab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah,
and with him 200 males.
5 Of the sons of Shecaniah, the son of Jahaziel,
and with him 300 males.
6 Of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan,
and with him 50 males.
7 Of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah,
and with him 70 males.
8 Of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael,
and with him 80 males.
9 Of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel
and with him 218 males.
10 Of the sons of Shelomith, the son of Josiphiah,
and with him 160 males.
11 Of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai,
and with him 28 males.
12 Of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan,
and with him 110 males.
13 Of the sons of Adonikam, who were the last, and these are their names: Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah,
and with them 60 males.
14 Of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud,
and with them 70 males.
Ezra Sends for Levites
15 I gathered them together to the river that runs to Ahava, and there we encamped three days. I looked around at the people and the priests and found there were none of the sons of Levi.
16 Then I sent for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, for Elnathan, for Jarib, for Elnathan, for Nathan, for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, leading men; also for Joiarib and for Elnathan, who were teachers. 17 I sent them out to Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should tell Iddo and his brothers the temple servants, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring to us ministers for the house of our God.
18 According to the good hand of our God on us they brought us a man of discretion, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel, and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brothers, eighteen; 19 and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty; 20 and of the temple servants, whom David and the princes had given for the service of the Levites, 220 temple servants. All of them were mentioned by name.
Fasting for Protection
21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for us, and for our little ones, and for all our possessions.
22 For I was ashamed to ask of the king, a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the way, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is on all those who seek him, for good, but his power and his wrath is against all those who forsake him.”
23 So we fasted and begged our God for this, and he granted our request.
The Priests Guard Offerings
24 Then I set apart twelve of the chiefs of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers with them, 25 and weighed to them the silver, the gold, and the vessels, the offering for the house of our God, which the king, his counselors, his princes, and all Israel there present, had offered.
26 I weighed into their hand 24 tons of silver, 7,500 pounds of silver vessels, 7,500 pounds of gold, 27 twenty bowls of gold weighing 1,000 coins, and two vessels of fine bright bronze, precious as gold.
28 I said to them, “You are holy to the Lord, and the vessels are holy. The silver and the gold are a free will offering to the Lord, the God of your fathers. 29 Watch and keep them, until you weigh them before the chiefs of the priests and the Levites, and the family leaders of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the rooms of the house of the Lord.”
30 So the priests and the Levites received the weight of the silver and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.
31 Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and the bandit by the way. 32 We came to Jerusalem and stayed there three days.
Treasure Placed in the Temple
33 On the fourth day the silver and the gold and the vessels were weighed in the house of our God into the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas, and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, the Levite. 34 Everything was verified by number and by weight, and the total weight was recorded at that time.
35 The descendants of the captivity, who had come out of exile, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, 96 rams, 77 lambs, and twelve male goats for a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the Lord.
36 They delivered the king’s commissions to the king’s local governors, and to the governors beyond the River. So they supported the people and the house of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 4
Servants of Christ
1 So let people think of us as Christ’s servants and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Now what is required of stewards is that they are found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing for me, that I should be judged by you, or by any man’s judgment. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself. Yet this does not justify me, but the one who judges me is the Lord.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will reveal the motives of hearts. Then each man will get his praise from God.
Do Not Be Proud
6 Now in these things, brothers, I have used myself and Apollos as examples for your sake, that through us you might learn not to go beyond what is written, so that none of you would be puffed up against one another. 7 For who makes you different? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
8 You are already full. You have already become rich. You have come to reign without our help. Yes, and I wish that you did reign, that we also might reign with you. 9 For, I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You have honor, but we have dishonor. 11 Even to this present hour we hunger, thirst, are naked, are beaten, and have no assurance of a place to live. 12 We toil, working with our own hands. When people curse us, we bless. Being persecuted, we endure. 13 Being defamed, we entreat. Even now, we are made as the filth of the world, the dirt wiped off by everyone.
Paul Warns his Spiritual Children
14 I do not write these things to shame you but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have 10,000 tutors in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Gospel. 16 I beg you therefore, be imitators of me. 17 Because of this I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every assembly.
18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord is willing. And I will know, not the talk of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
Mourning Turned into Dancing
A Psalm. A Song for the Dedication of the Temple. By David.
1 I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up
and have not made my foes to rejoice over me.
2 Lord my God, I cried to you,
and you have healed me.
3 Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol.
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
4 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of his.
Give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment.
His favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may last for the night,
but joy comes in the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 You, Lord, when you favored me, made my mountain stand strong,
but when you hid your face, I was troubled.
8 I cried to you, Lord.
I made supplication to the Lord.
9 “What profit is there in my destruction, if I go down to the pit?
Shall the dust praise you?
Shall it declare your truth?
10 Hear, O Lord and have mercy on me.
Lord, be my helper.”
11 You have turned my mourning into dancing for me.
You have removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 to the end that my heart may sing praise to you, and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
28 Love and faithfulness keep the king safe.
His throne is sustained by love.
29 The glory of young men is their strength.
The splendor of old men is their gray hair.
30 Wounding blows cleanse away evil,
and beatings purge the innermost parts.