Ezra

REBUILDING AFTER EXILE

The last verses in 2 Chronicles are the first verses in Ezra, so continue the journey of the People of God as they come out of exile and rebuild the Temple and the Walls in Jerusalem. We begin the story with the people of Israel in exile and the Temple in Jerusalem destroyed. But now, as prophesied by Jeremiah, it’s time to come back. In these amazing books, we have the stories of three key figures in the building of the Second Temple, the walls in Jerusalem and the return of the people of God to Jerusalem. Follow Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah as they overcome the enemies to re-establish God’s Temple again.

 

PART ONE | PART TWO

 
 

 

Part One

FOR EZRA HAD DEVOTED HIMSELF TO THE STUDY AND OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW OF THE LORD AND TO TEACHING ITS DECREES AND LAWS IN ISRAEL

E 7:10

The journey continues with Ezra, one of the last three historical books in the Old Testament. Israel has been in exile 70 years when the King of Persia (the enemy) reads the prophecy of Jeremiah and realises that it is time for the Israelites to return to Jerusalem.


DIVE

THE MORE I KNOW THE MORE THE MATRIX IS REVEALED

I love reading the Bible, no surprise there! I love that the more you read the Bible, the more the matrix becomes clear. Sometimes we can forget that with all its different authors and all its different books, the Bible has a divine thread of salvation history that runs through it all; all the historical books, all the prophetic books, the psalms, the gospels, the letters, all play a part in this divine story. And as we journey along, God uses the matrix of these authors, stories and letters to reveal His plans bit by bit. Not one to tell the punchline at the beginning of the joke (which I do all the time!), God reveals the story of redemption piece by piece, bit by bit. That is why you should read your whole Bible, not just quotes, verses or pieces, because if you read it as a whole unit, this incredible, divine plan will be revealed to you in its fullness and glory.

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DEEP DIVE | GARTH BALL

LIVING OUT YOUR GOD-PURPOSE

The Book of Ezra, believed to be written by Ezra between 450-430 B.C., is a historical narrative, recording the post-exilic events of the Jewish people returning from captivity in Babylon. It is a fascinating story that beautifully displays God’s sovereignty as His purposes unfold for His chosen people. We see ungodly leaders, such as Cyrus of Persia, being used by God as His vessels for bringing about these purposes. Further, we see the fulfillment of a number of prophecies, such as that in Jeremiah 29:10, which rightly predicted the length of exile in Babylon.

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Part Two

THE KING GRANTED HIM EVERYTHING HE ASKED, FOR THE HAND OF THE LORD HIS GOD WAS ON HIM.

E 7:6


DIVE

THE RIGHT PEOPLE AT THE RIGHT TIME - COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT!

There is a double sided encouragement in the book of Ezra, one for those who need teams and one for those who have gifts. The book of Ezra is an encouragement for leaders who are trying to build something, that the right people will be there at the right time and God knows what you need. So if you are leader reading this book, take this encouragement to heart. Highlight and study how God brought all the right people to help with the building of His house and be encouraged – God will do the same for you.

The second encouragement that is that you are gifted for a reason. I love that each need is met by the people that were there. God gifted the people beforehand to help with the building, all they needed to do was ‘see the need and fill the need’.

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DEEP DIVE

HATERS GONNA HATE | KATIE HALDANE

No matter what you do for God there are two things that are guaranteed: firstly God is going to be faithful to his promises and the other is that the enemy is going to try and stop what you are doing.

So as you read Ezra it is no surprise that after the incredible favour that God had given to the people of Israel in the first couple of chapters, to walk out the promise of God and come back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple; including an edict from King Cyrus of Persia, all the gold, silver and garments that the heads of the families provided for the house of God and the people that had come to help, we find in chapter 4 the heading “Opposition to the Rebuilding.” Now as you read the rest of the story I want you to notice how the enemy tries to stop the rebuilding. These are great lessons to learn for our own lives today.

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