Ezra is a book about rebuilding. Isaiah and Jeremiah were prophesying 200 years earlier about the return of God's people from exile. Haggai and Zechariah were preaching during the time of Ezra.
There were 3 waves of deportation and 3 waves of return.
Zerubbabel - rebuilt the Temple
Ezra - rebuilt the people
Nehemiah - rebuilt the walls
How to Rebuild through the lens of Ezra:
1. Do you really want this?
- 49,897 came back with the first wave - only .02%. This exodus was not like the one from Egypt, where everyone was a slave. Now, people are enjoying new homes, food, and culture. It was easier to stay than to make the 900 mile trek to a pile of rubble.
2. Set your Priorities
- They rebuilt the alter first, which was the heartbeat of their faith. When they returned, it was the Feast of Booths, known as Sukkot. They could remember God's faithfulness while wandering for 40 years.
3. Fight for it!
In 536, the work started. After 2 years, the work stopped due to pushback. 14 years later, the work resumed for 5 more years.
4. Pray for favor
-"The hand of God was on him" was mentioned 7 times in Chapters 7-8.
- Between Ch 6-7, there was a 58 year gap when the life of Esther happened.
- Pray for favor so that God will be made much of!
5. Live it before you give it (Live with integrity)
- Pursue, practice, then preach
-Ch. 7:10 "For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel."
6. Build with a teachable/repentant heart
- Ezra is broken-hearted over inter-marriage "faith-wise"
- We need to blush well (Ch. 9:6) about the darkness in our society.