Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ezra Bible Study - Rebuffed: Standing Firm

In Ezra 4, we see a scenario that is common today.

Why do your enemies want a piece of God's blessing in your life? They didn't earn your blessing, they have no relationship with God, they weren't the beneficiaries, yet they have no problem wanting to align themselves with you when you're on a holy mission. They don't know your relationship with God and the manifestation of His promises to you. They only see your outcome and are filled with envy, not recognizing what it took for you to get there. So they approach you because they know your character and anticipate that you'll act in a way favorable to them. But Christians don't need to be pushovers; they can stand firm on God's promises like the Israelites did.

The mysterious they, in this case, are the Samaritans who wanted to form an unholy alliance with the Jews as they rebuilt the temple. The rebuilding of the temple was not significant to the Samaritans, yet they knew of its significance.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Ezra Bible Study - Unified: As One Man

I am struck by the unity expressed in Ezra 3:1, in particular how it reads in the KJV.

And when the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. Ezra 3:1 KJV

They lived in separate villages, but now it was time to be unified in their purpose to rebuild the temple. There was a period before they started building, seven months which served as preparation. Once prepared, they were united.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Ezra Bible Study - Coming Home: Gratitude

So far, we've learned the significance of the role of Ezra as a priest and a scribe. As such, he provides a rich background of what happens to the Jews that are freed after Cyrus' proclamation. Catch up on this study here, here and here.

Finally, the first wave of exiles is on their way to Jerusalem. I'm sure there were excited and relieved, but also perhaps nervous and worried. Humans can get used to anything, and for those

Monday, July 1, 2019

Ezra Bible Study - Counted: It Matters

Once Cyrus issues his proclamation, he sends the Jews on their way with a bounty that displays the intentions of his heart towards them.

At the end of the first chapter of Ezra, we see Cyrus restoring to the Jews what was rightfully theirs. When they were captured,  Nebuchadnezzar took accouterments from the sanctuary and placed them in his temple, which was dedicated to idol worship. These items were plenteous, precious, and treasured. Ezra 1:7-11 reads: