Monday, June 3, 2019

Ezra Bible Study - Who Was Ezra?

Before we jump into the events written by Ezra, let's discover some fundamentals about Ezra.

This book bears his name while showing how God used Ezra and others to fulfill his plan for the Jews. The book of Ezra is considered a historical book and begins where 2 Chronicles ends. In the chronological order of the Bible, Ezra and Nehemiah are considered the end of the old testament. Ezra details the rebuilding of the second temple which was ultimately destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.

Knowledge of the Law was lost during the seventy-year Babylonian exile. The Babylonian
Exile was the forced captivity of Jews in Babylon following Babylon's conquest of Judah. This captivity ended in 538 BC with Cyrus' decree.
The book is broken into two parts: The first return and rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1-6) and re-establishing God's law and worship (Ezra 7-10).

Who was Ezra?
  • Ezra was a priest and a scribe.
  • He was a descendant of Aaron; a Levite.
  • Ezra was born in 480 B.C. and died in 440 B.C.
  • Ezra was influential. He was a leader commissioned by King Artaxerxes to lead a group of Jewish exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem.
  • Ezra was well versed in the Mosaic Law.
  • Ezra knew God; he was a devout servant. God used Ezra to remind the Jews to keep God's word (i.e., the Mosaic Law).
What was the role of a priest?
Priests ministered in the tabernacle and, later, the temple, primarily as mediators between man and God. The Levitical priests bore the responsibility of offering the sacrifices required by the Mosaic Law.

What was the role of a scribe?
A scribe was a writer whose primary subject was the Law. In the Old Testament, scribes were a position of authority. Their duty was to spread the contents of the Law and teach others the Law. Ezra was a teacher, and the book that bears his name is an instructional book. Scribes studied the Law and transcribed it; they wrote commentaries on the Law. They were also freelanced; they were hired on occasion when the need for written documents arose or when an interpretation or legal point was needed. We can thank Jewish scribes like Ezra for preserving the Old Testament.

In the first verse of Ezra, we get a sense as to why these events were recorded - that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled (Ezra 1:1). Isaiah predicted Cyrus' decree 150 years prior (Isaiah 45:1), and Ezra writes of its fulfillment. When the word of the Lord is to be fulfilled, it will happen. God will use weird situations and unlikely people to fulfill his promise. He used the King of Persia, Cyrus the Great, a pagan king who issued a decree allowing the Israelites to leave Babylon. He used the Babylonian Exile, and He used a scribe called Ezra, all to fulfill His purpose.

Reflections
You may not know where you are in God's plan. Like Ezra be a devout servant of his Word. Know God by spending time with Him and writing what speaks to you. Writing played a vital role in Ezra's life; it was his profession and his calling intertwined. As a blogger and writer with a focus on God's word, I'm always mindful of what I say. Who knows if God is using your writing to fulfill His promises. Write carefully and prayerfully.

Prayer - Dear Lord, I didn't anticipate this first reflection; that you would show me the importance of scribes in ancient times and the similarities between scribes and writers or bloggers today. Lord, may we be devout servants of your word, like Ezra was. May we remember that we are also a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5). Therefore, help us to live accordingly. I submit myself to you so that you can use me or my writing to fulfill your promises. You have the big picture, and I don't, but I know I was created with a purpose. You have given us your Holy Spirit, which guides us into all truth. So impact my thoughts, change my heart, and guide my hand as I read your word and write what you have given to me. In Jesus name, Amen.


Resources:
Gotquestions.org
Blue Letter Bible
https://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/bible-prophet-ezra/)
http://biblescripture.net/Ezra.html
Scofield Reference Bible
Bible Gateway

--Nylse

Thanks for reading. Please take a moment to share using the buttons below and also please like my Facebook Page. I'm now on Instagram also. Don't forget to subscribe. Stay Encouraged!


7 comments:

  1. Thanks, Nylse. I find all this fascinating, and you've also made me wonder how priests during the exile following the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple coped with the uprooting of their way of life. That Ezra found a way to be front and center in the plan of God speaks to his ability to land on his feet and find balance and a way of serving God that did not need a perfect building or a hard knotted cable to the "way things had always been."
    I can learn a lot from him in the second half of my life!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's great to be a scribe in a way, and we don't have all those rituals to follow. we can write God's name and don't have to start all over, and the Holy Spirit cleanses us. I really have not studied Ezra, I will get to him.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for a "shout out" for one of God's people, Ezra. Too bad they don't raise children up with the Ezra name today. Maybe they do - I just haven't heard about it for awhile. May we all be God's men and women like Ezra

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Know God by spending time with Him" - isn't that a perfect take away from just the early glimpse into this book. I certainly want to know Him more....well, time to spend time with Him!!:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for this great lesson on Ezra. We are celebrating the legacy of men on our blog this month. please feel free to come link-up with us. [Coming to you from Grace and Truth LInkup]

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love this character study and your prayer. Amen!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a great look into Ezra! Thanks for taking the time to dig in and share from the Word here!

    ReplyDelete

I love reading your comments; but please be kind. Unkind comments will be removed.