A Poem for Sunday
2 Chronicles 36:11 – Ezra 3:13
Way back in the day around 600 B.C.
Israel began the Babylonian Captivity
They’d been forewarned, make no mistake,
There was only so much that God would take
They’d failed to give the land a rest
Each seven years, as God said was best.
But of all the things that they’d done wrong
The lowest was breaking Number One;
They’d worshipped the gods of other nations
And that was the worst abomination.
So God finally said, “Well. Okay. Fine.
If you like their laws better than mine,
You just go on and be taken away
By the heathen Chaldeans this very day.”
It was in 597, to be exact
When Nebuchadnezzar launched his attack
‘Twas many an Israelite died by his sword
And he stole precious things from the House of the Lord.
He destroyed, by fire, the Jerusalem Wall
And heartlessly watched the great Temple fall.
So for seventy years, the story went on
While the Israelites live in Babylon.
Then Cyrus of Persia sent out a Decree,
“All of you Jews better listen to me.”
He said, “God gave me all the kingdoms of earth
And THIS job He gave me has priority First:
To rebuild Jerusalem’s Temple for Him
So get ready to go back to Jerusalem again.”
Cyrus returned the Precious things
Nebuchadnezzar had stolen in the previous reign.
So Israelite Leaders, families and priests
Set out with the greatest down to the least.
The Levites, Gibeonites and Solomon’s slaves,
Singers, Servants, and Gatekeepers set out one day;
They left the cities of Babylon
To rebuild the City of Jerusalem.
In the year five hundred and thirty five
In Jerusalem, the people finally arrived,
“The first thing we should do, so that we don’t falter,
Is re-establish the Burnt Offering Altar.”
Zerubbabel did just that and then
The twice daily offerings began again.
They collected supplies for the next two years
And masons and carpenters began to appear
At last (they’d feared, the day might never come)
The Foundation was laid, the work had begun.
It had been fifty years since Solomon’s Temple stood
They were careful to make this work extra good.
When the foundation was laid, the builders called out,
“Let’s celebrate this! Let’s sing and let’s shout!”
So the Israelites gathered all around
The Temple with cymbals and they made a joyous sound
They gave thanks to the Lord that this would not sever
“His lovingkindness upon Israel forever.”
But some of the Old Folks began to say;
“It’s not as grand as in Solomon’s Day!”
So the shouts of joy and cries of shame
From far away both sounded the same.