Watching The Skies

Poetic Perspectives

Tufted titmouse watching the sky (photo: Craig Sabin)

Walking down this road of pain
Grief and sorrow fall like rain
Slowly soak me to the bone
Ever yearning for my home
Worldly hopes have passed away
Withered in a single day
Weary worn, I long for rest
Pressing on while being pressed

Rest my thoughts on things above
Christ my Savior rules in love
Grants me power to endure
Cleans my heart to make it pure
While I'm here there's work to do
Destined days will soon be through
Torn between the now and then
Where I'm going, where I've been
Keep my eye upon the sky
Jesus coming from on high
Holy angels, army bright
Pierce the darkness, end the night

Mercy will not tarry long Soon my lips will part in song Joy will dry my ev'ry tear All my fears will disappear   Even…

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The Babylonian Exile: Fitting the Pieces Together

You are probably familiar with the stories of Queen Esther, Nehemiah rebuilding the wall, Daniel in the lions’ den, King Nebuchadnezzar, and other Old Testament figures. But how do these stories relate to each other?

The story of the Jews who were exiled to Babylon and then returned to Jerusalem can be confusing. At least it was to me. I had a lot of pieces to the puzzle, but I didn’t know how they fit together. So I did a little research and came up with a timeline and a summary that can help us fit the pieces together.

In order to get a better grasp of the timeline, I have renamed the years. I have called 606 BC (the date the first exiles were taken to Babylon) Year 1. You will see that 161 years will pass before the third wave of exiles returns to Jerusalem.

Babylonian Exile Timeline

606 BC (Year 1)   Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, besieges Jerusalem. Daniel and Judean nobles are exiled to Babylon.

586 BC (Year 20) Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians. Solomon’s Temple is destroyed.

539 BC (Year 67) Cyrus, King of Persia, conquers the Babylonian Empire

537 BC (Year 69) The 1st group of exiles returns to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel. 42,360 exiles return (plus slaves and singers) – a small remnant.

520 BC (Year 86) The Temple is completed.

486-465 BC (Years 120-141) Xerxes is King of Persia. He makes Esther the new queen.

458 BC (Year 148) The 2nd group of exiles returns to Jerusalem with Ezra. Artaxerxes is the King of Persia. Only 1,754 exiles return.

445 BC (Year 161) The 3rd group of exiles returns with Nehemiah to restore the walls. The walls were restored in 52 days.


In 606 BC, the deportation of Judean nobles to Babylon begins. This group included Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The people of Judah were not exiled all at once but were taken captive over a period of several years. Twenty years after the first captives were taken, Jerusalem and the Temple were completely destroyed by the Babylonians.

Sixty-seven years after the first exiles were taken to Babylon, Cyrus, King of Persia conquered the Babylonian empire. Only two years after he became king, he allowed the exiles to return to Jerusalem. A small remnant of 42,360 people returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel to rebuild the Temple.

First, they rebuilt the altar. Then they began to rebuild the temple, but opposition stopped the building for about 16 years. Rebuked and encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the people finally completed the construction of the Temple.

About 79 years after the first group of exiles returned to Jerusalem, a second group returned with Ezra, the priest. Only 1,754 returned this time. The new Persian King is Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes and Vashti. Vashti was the queen before Esther.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, the Israelites have taken foreign wives. Ezra leads the people to cry out for forgiveness and mercy. They turned from their wicked ways.

Thirteen years after the second wave of exiles returned, the third wave of exiles returned with Nehemiah. Nehemiah’s mission was to restore the walls and gates. They accomplished this in 52 days. It had been 161 years since the first group of captives was taken to Babylon!


Jeremiah Study Bible

Old Testament books of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, Haggai, and Zechariah

The Babylonian Captivity

Photos from Google Images

Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?  


Friday’s Verse, 11/25/22

“Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
 They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:6-7 NIV

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Erriko Boccia on Unsplash  


Verses for Meditation, 11/24/22

“Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.” Psalm 73: 25-26 NIV

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash  


Quote of the Week, 11/23/22

Our worldview colors all of life for us and today, especially, it’s so important to see this crazy world and all that’s thrown at us through the lens of God’s word. 

Patty, He Said What?!

Be sure and visit Patty’s Blog! You’ll love it! I know I do!

Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Lisha Riabinina on Unsplash  


Tuesday’s Verse, 11/22/22

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20 NIV

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Hendrik Cornelissen on Unsplash  


Monday’s Verse, 11/21/22

“May my prayer be set before you like incense;
    may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2 NIV

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash  


Sunday’s Memory Verse, 11/20/22

“When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
 When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:18-19 NIV

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash  


“Can Unexpected Things Happen?”

Suddenly, all the lights went out in the middle of our Sunday morning church service! If you hadn’t been paying attention, you were now. It was dark and a little scary.

Our pastor was in the middle of his sermon entitled, “We Endure Patiently” based on James 5:7-8.

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8 NIV (emphasis mine)

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:37-42 NIV (emphasis mine)

 “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Matthew 24:44 NIV (emphasis mine) Read full chapter

The pastor, always ready, promptly said, “Can Unexpected Things Happen?”

I don’t know about everybody else, but God had MY attention!

I always ask the Lord to speak to me through our service. Interestingly, the thing that has been most on my mind is Jesus’ return. I recently finished reading the book of Revelation and now I am reading an excellent book, Revealing Revelation by Amir Tsarrfati.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14 NIV (emphasis mine)

For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven.”  Hebrews 13:14 TLB (emphasis mine)

Jesus’ return is our blessed hope. We are to be looking forward to His return! Are we? Or are we consumed with the things of this world, never giving thought to His soon return? Jesus is coming soon, maybe sooner than you think!

Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash  


Friday’s Verse, 11/18/22

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 NIV

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Katarzyna Pe on Unsplash