Ezra - Built for Worship
I wonder what building projects you’ve embarked on? Perhaps you enjoy making, constructing, fixing. Or maybe it’s beyond your personal skill set, and you prefer to pay someone else to do it?! Life is full of building, both in the physical sense, but also the spiritual. God’s people knew all about that when they returned from their exile in Babylon.
Having rebelled against God and ignored His warnings, they were invaded by their enemies and exiled to different lands under the kings they were now subject to. When Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem, he looted and destroyed the temple, carried the people off to Babylon, and left the city desolate and in ruins. However, in His grace, God gave hope through the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, that the people would return and rebuild their lives again in the promised land. When the Persian king, Cyrus, granted this return in 538 B.C, the people began their work in reshaping their lives in the capital city.
The major physical rebuilding was the construction of the temple of God, and the people, led by Zerubbabel, and urged on by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, overcame opposition and succeeded in establishing God’s house once again. But the temple’s purpose was to provide a place of focus for worshipping and honouring the Lord. And so, the priest and teacher Ezra, later came back to Jerusalem from Babylon, to help God’s people worship him and renew their faithfulness to Him, both in repentance and obedience. The temple was ‘built for worship’ to enable their lives to be ‘built for worship’.
As followers of Jesus Christ, how might he continually build us to worship him in spirit and truth? How can we seek to grow in him personally but also establish a community of worshippers who live distinctively and shine in a dark world?
2nd February 2020
The Lord in control (Ezra 1:1-11)
The people at their best (Ezra 2:1-70)
First things first (Ezra 3:1-6)
Joy and sadness (Ezra 3:7-13)
Surrounded by enemies (Ezra 4:1-5)
Opposition works… (Ezra 4:6-24)
…Oh no it doesn’t (Ezra 5:1-6:12)
Finishing with a feast (Ezra 6:13-22)
Introducing Ezra (Ezra 7:1-10)
Another king, another letter (Ezra 7:11-28)
Home again (Ezra 8:1-36)
Disobedience & confession (Ezra 9:1-15)
Putting things right (Ezra 10:1-44)