‘It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.’ Lamentations 3:26
In the first chapter of Ezra, we can read about the wonderful miracle that had happened: the Persian King Cyrus had given the Jewish exiles permission to return to their country and rebuild their temple! But the sense of wonder about this divine intervention lasted only a short while before it receded. Soon it turned out that the word of God did not have authority anymore in the daily life of the people of Israel. They intermarried with the neighboring peoples, although God had explicitly forbidden this (Deuteronomy 7:3,4). In the Bible passage of today, we read how the learned priest Ezra responded to the sin, the disobedience of the returned exiles: ‘When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled’ (:3).
About the Christians - as born again people - is written: ‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession’ (1 Peter 2:9). What a blessing it would be if a priestly heart would awaken in us too, and we would send prayers up to God on behalf of the all too worldly church of Christ, like Daniel did and like the priest Ezra did here: ‘From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today’ (:7).
When such a priestly heart awakens in us, then we will come to understand the word ‘quietly’ of the prophet Jeremiah in our Bible verse of today. Then we will come to understand how Jeremiah - surrounded by the ruins of Jerusalem – waited quietly for the salvation, which the Lord wants to give us too, in answer to our priestly prayer for everyone around us.