Ezra-Nehemiah part 1
In this post we will look at 5 of the talks that made up a 10 part series on the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Links to the podcasts can be found in the headings.
Simon began the series with a brief history of Israel and Judah. This put the lives of Ezra and Nehemiah into the context of the times and outlined how God was going to take the scattered nation and bring about a hope-filled restoration of the city and people.
Rob continued the series by outlining how God used Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus and Artaxerxes in surprising ways. Rob encouraged us to pray for our nation and for the nations of the world. He called on us to ask God for a worldwide outpouring of righteousness and justice.
Rob started with a comparison between Solomon’s Temple and the Temple built by Zerubbabel. God’s presence was obvious in the former. But though Zerubbabel had followed all the instructions from before, the glory of God was missing. Rob asked ‘What is worship? What is the thing we’ve made of our worship?’
Paul looked at the attitudes of Zerubbabel and the Israelites as they built the Temple. This lead him to look at how this was relevant to the church today. He asked us how we treat those who are different from us? He ended with five challenging questions:
Who does God want you to reach out to?
How do you act or speak about Jesus?
Do you only know people who are just like you?
Do you need to repent for how you’ve treated or thought about people different from you?
Who are you building with?
Simon showed how important the word of God was to Ezra. Having been commissioned by King Artaxerxes, Ezra returned to Jerusalem. In obeying the king’s commands, Ezra used his knowledge of God’s word and the history found in the Torah to rebuild Jerusalem.
Next time we will look at the remaining talks in this series.