Talks for Growing Christians
Ezra and 2,000 more Jewish Exiles Return to Jerusalem
Lesson Number 7
- Commitment is essential for God's blessing.
- Discipline is essential for God's blessing.
- Don't forget the third phase of the commitment cycle.
- The foundation of the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem had been laid in 535 B.C, but the temple was not completed until 516 B.C. Why was there such a long delay?
- Name the two prophets who motivated the people to continue the work on
the temple project.
- Zerubbabel led 50, 000 Jews from captivity in Babylon back to Jerusalem. Under whose leadership and how many was the next group of Jews to return from captivity?
- How long was the journey from Babylon to Jerusalem?
- What is the third phase of the commitment cycle?
- The delay in the project was because of opposition on the one hand, and a problem with priorities on the other hand. The opposition took the form of legal threat from the surrounding foreign peoples, and legal delay by the Persian officials.
- Haggai and Zechariah.
- Nearly sixty years later, Ezra led about 2,000 more captives back to Jerusalem.
- The journey took four months. They walked about 900 miles.
- Commitment is essential for blessing, and there will be blessing if there is commitment. The third phase of the commitment cycle is praise. And praise will actually result in further commitment and blessing.
- The phrase, "The hand of God was upon him," is used in Chapter 7 concerning Ezra.
See Ezra 7:6, 9, 28. What a great phrase to describe the blessing of God. Have you experienced the good hand of God upon you during your life as a believer (as well, of course, as in your
salvation)? The key to blessing is commitment. "Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel." (Ezra 7:10) Ezra was a deeply committed believer. As you prepare your heart to seek the word of God and to do it, it will help you to focus on the Lord's call upon your life. How deep is your commitment? Commitment is essential for God's blessing.
- "You, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, set people who may judge others, all who know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them." (Ezra 7:25) Ezra was given governing authority as well as authorization and funding for his mission. No matter how much blessing, a structure of authority and discipline is still needed. What was true in Ezra's day is still true today. Discipline is essential for God's blessing - in the family, in the church, in any ministry. How is this true in these spheres of your life?
- "Blessed be the Lord God .He has extended mercy to me.so I was encouraged, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me." (Ezra 7:27-28) Commitment is essential for blessing, and if there is commitment, there will be blessing. Why is it that some Christians take blessing for granted? Listen, believer, and hear - blessings should be followed by praise. Are you a praising Christian?
- "Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law.which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him." Ezra 7:6
- "Ezra began his journey from Babylon and he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him." Ezra 7:9
- "Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statues and ordinances in Israel." Ezra 7:10
- "Ezra, whatever seems good to you and your brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do it according to the will of your God." Ezra 7:18
- "I was encouraged as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me." Ezra 7:28