The Lord led me to the book of Ezra back in February of this year, as our family was facing a period of transition. We were leaving the church we had been apart of for the last two years in answer to the call of God and one of our sons was headed off to Marine Boot camp. I believed there was wisdom and insight to be found in this book as we were walking through this time of leaving and rebuilding. I was right.
I ask you to join me, as we together look into the Word of God during this time of crisis and rebuilding. What are the strategies the Lord has for us from this book written long ago? The prayers, insights, wisdom and strategies are relevant for us today. Please join me.
One of my main goals, in any study that I write and teach, is to get the people of God into the Word of God. Please take the time to read the Scripture for yourself and engage with the Spirit of God as He brings light to the passages as we open them together. I would also like to recommend that you get a journal or notebook and write throughout these lessons. As we look back over the next weeks at what God is showing us, you will be amazed at how He has spoken, answered prayers and faithfully acted on your behalf as you look to Him.
We will be approaching each portion of Scripture in 3 ways over the course of 3 lessons. The first is with simple observation. My questions are not “rocket science” and may seem too simplistic. That’s OK. What I am encouraging you to do is to SLOW DOWN. Read the words, pay attention to the details, the repeated phrases and word usage. Ask your own questions. What are you seeing and noticing? What is the Holy Spirit highlighting for you? Where is your attention being drawn and why?
Our second lesson will be simply my own private observations. Some of the questions I asked. Some of the background information I found and cross-referenced Scriptures to help you peer deeper into the Word of God for yourself.
The last lesson will be what I call my “so what?” This is the application. I am not interested in more head knowledge about the Bible. I need transformation. The way this happens in my life is when I ask the “so what?” question. This moves the knowledge from my mind into the revelation in my heart and allows for there to be a transformation in my life. Which is exactly what I am searching for. More of Jesus Christ operating in my life for His glory.
So, let’s get started.
Lesson 1: Read Ezra 1-2
Cyrus, King of Persia has invaded Babylon where the nation of Israel has been in exile. This book is about God’s faithfulness to bring the nation back to their land and rebuild the temple of God.
- Look at 3 different prophesies given about the Babylonian captivity
- Jeremiah 25:11-14 How many years were prophesied for Israel to be in Babylonian captivity?
- Jeremiah 32:36-41 List God’s promises to His people as they return to their land.
(I found at least 10) ex. I will gather them from all countries
- Isaiah 44:28 speaks about King Cyrus by name, over 200 years previous. What does it say he will do?
- Who placed it in the heart of the King to rebuild the temple? Ezra 1:1
- According to Proverbs 21:1, the heart of the King is in the hand of whom and how does He direct it?
- In what ways are you being challenged today to trust that the Lord will direct the heart of the authority in your life and grant you favor?
- List the thing King Cyrus acknowledges in his proclamation. Ezra 1:2-4
- Who returned to rebuild? Ezra 1:5
- Where did the people go that came from Babylon? Ezra 2:1
Ezra 2 gives long lists of names and numbers. Skim it, if you like. What I want you to take note of is verse 59-63. These verses have to do with the legitimacy of their clams as citizens of the priesthood. For anyone to officiate at the altar of God, they must have the correct evidence and proof of their family line as priests. They were not permanently refused at this time, they were simply having to await a priest to confirm them and their rights.
- Do you know your family line? Are you a part of the family of God?
- What characteristics do you see evidenced in the families returning to Jerusalem? Ezra 2:68-69
- Are you seeing evidence of these same characteristics in your life and others during this time? If so, how?