The book of Ezra is about spiritual restoration. It is focused on the restoration of the temple after God’s people returned from their captivity in Babylon. Their persistent disobedience and idolatry had resulted in the destruction of the temple and the enslavement to a foreign nation. But God had made them a kingdom promise—that if they would return to Him, He would bring them back to their own land. As always, God kept His promise.
The other day I got into my car and noticed that the side mirror had collapsed. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to work properly. I fiddled with that mirror, pushed that mirror, pulled that mirror, and sought to maneuver that mirror for close to twenty minutes. I knew I couldn’t drive without a mirror to show me the cars behind and beside me, so I kept looking for a solution.
Philippians is often called “the book of joy.” In this letter, Paul stresses that he wants God’s people to live in the joy of the Lord and His kingdom rather than just reacting to their outward circumstances. For joy consists of internal stability in spite of external struggles. Whatever you might be going through, you can find joy right in the middle of it. And if anyone was qualified to teach on this subject, it was Paul, for this letter was written after he had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel (1:7, 13).
As you read 1 Chronicles, you may respond by saying, “Wait. Haven’t I already read these stories before?” And the answer is, yes you have. The two books of Chronicles cover much of the same territory as the two books of Kings. There is a great deal of overlap when it comes to the stories they each record.