The group leader suggested we do it again in 2014, and to be honest I didn't want to do it. Some passages were so dull and a struggle to get through. I figured I could just go deeper with the sections I like, (Acts, Romans, etc)
He proposed we read the For The Love Of God plan, which includes a devotional section to go with the assigned scripture.
Here's what a part of the devotional for Ezra 2 said:
Naming these individuals and their families bestows on them an implicit
approval. Countless tens of thousands of Israelites never returned to the Promised
Land; they were too settled where they were, and the restoration of Jerusalem and
the temple was of too little importance to them to warrant such dislocation. Their
names have been lost; they are of little consequence in the sweep of redemptive
history. But these names are remembered and written down in sacred Scripture.
Read them slowly; they call forth our respect and gratitude.
The second chapter of Ezra is pretty much a list of names and numbers, pretty dry. However, this devotional section added some depth and meaning to the names and numbers.
I also was struck by the "they were too settled where they were" line. How often does that describe us?
We know that we should be creating environments that attract the 90% of people that don't attend church on Sunday, but we like church the way it is. If we change and 'target' the unchurched person we might not like it. We're comfortable with the way it is.
I don't want to be one of those people. I want to have my name be part of the redemptive story God is writing. I don't want my comfort to hold me back from being a part of what God is doing, because he'll get it done with someone else if I prefer to be comfortable.
So I guess the question we can draw out of the second chapter in Ezra is simply this: "Will your comfort keep you from getting in the game?"