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EzraNotesPart3:

Posted by Lorraine Serra on October 12, 2010 at 6:41 AM

I know it seems crazy to announce a study in Haggai, yet spend so much time in Ezra!


But, as we will see, God's word is interwoven by the accounts of the people He inspired to be leaders and historians.   In the wide angle view of the Bible, we see in countless places the promised coming of Jesus and the blessed Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, then we see them revealed in the New Testament.   The entire Bible is God's story of love, patience, mercy, correction, forgiveness and restoration.  It is HISstory, God with us.


So, today another quick look at Ezra and the back story for Haggai.  I invite everyone to comment and /or respond to the questions I've posted.


Ezra documents an 80 year period of time.  We note that King Cyrus "blessed" and thanked the God of Israel for all the kingdoms he had been given.  Isn't that something?  Cyrus didn't even know God....but he knew all about God.   He had witnessed God's power in action, and so acknowledged Him.  I imagine any good king would honor another king, just as today any head of state shows respect to another.


But, Cyrus went further in ordering the Jews to get back home,  Those who weren't  willing or able to go were ordered to contribute financially to the temple project and it appears everyone gave sacrificially and generously.  Every Jew and even non-Jews became invested in God's command.


The listings of all the treasures, people and animals that prepared for the journey amazes me.  These details convict my heart of the accuracy of God's word.  Why would it matter how many donkeys or gold bowls went?  God is in the details.


Why else would we read that each one needed to prove their ancestry?  Praise God, He is in the details and remembers His own.     Nobody would make up this stuff!  


For my dear brothers and sisters who feel like they are in exile right now in life due to unemployment, or sickness, or broken relationships....take heart.  God is in the details as you seek Him and honor Him.   Look, see, even the treasures from the temple were reserved and preserved for the time of restoration.   You are worth so much more than that to God, your heavenly Father.  You are His precious treasure and He will not abandon you.


Arriving back in Jerusalem, the Jews had much to do.  But, what did they do first?

I marveled at how urgently the priests directed the building of a foundation for an altar!

Imagine how costly all those sacrifices and free-will offerings were to this fledgling band of people working to rebuild their lives. 


Though they were "back home", the surroundings had changed, and the current inhabitants might not appreciate their arrival.  No doubt, some of them remembered the former splendor and power of Jerusalem and its kings and resented it.


Here is a lesson for us.  Worship God anyway, all the time.  He is worthy of all honor and praise whether from a quickly built altar, or a fabulous temple; whether in glorious choral celebrations or a single voice alone at home.


Worship is a matter of the heart, mind and will.  It is our personal connection with our Heavenly King.  If there is a reason for fear, it is better to be connected to God, our Savior and our Friend.


We see opposition arise from the "people of the land".  Ah, the age old battle of good against evil.  The enemies of God still like to distract, dissuade  and block the godly in their pursuits.


Who are these "People of the land"?   See if you can find out anything about them.



So, God uses 3 pagan kings, Cyrus, Darious and Artexerxes to finance and oversee the rebuilding of the temple.  I believe they did it more out of fear of the God of Israel and for self-preservation.   Whatever their motives, God used it all to further His purposes.


Often God uses the most unexpected people and events to bring good into our lives, even if it is painful to begin with, or beyond our understanding in that moment.


How about in your life?  Anybody want to share a time when  you saw God's hand of providence and protection at work in your life?



I look forward to your comments and to praising God with you for all His detailed marvelous works!!


Blessings to all!

Lorraine









Categories: HAGGAI STUDY

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3 Comments

Reply Linda
9:55 PM on October 15, 2010 
Thanks Lorraine and Val. Val, I was touched by your story of God?s faithfulness. I may have a different background and experience but my lack of understanding, misinformation, immaturity, etc. is the same. But He is faithfully conforming us to the image of His Son (whether we see it or not!!). When He looks at us and our foibles, He sees His Son. We?re justified, accepted, and loved more that we could ever dare believe. When I dwell on this, I am more inclined to spend time with Him, obey Him, and serve Him! When I dwell on myself and my sin, I?m likely to fall into despair. Praise God, there is nothing in us that saved us. It?s all what He did.
How have I seen God's hand of providence and protection at work in my life? My husband and I recently ? 3 years ago ? made a move 3 hours away to a place that?s very different from where we moved from away from and from everyone we knew and loved. Totally out of my comfort zone. It?s been hard but I wouldn?t trade what I?ve learned for anything. ?And that is: that nothing, NOTHING can satisfy us in this world the way the Lord can. No person, no place, no thing. Praise God.
Reply Lorraine Serra
7:39 AM on October 13, 2010 
Sweet sister, Val,
I praise our Lord for your story of deliverance. He has done a mighty work in you. I can't imagine your pain; but we both know God is in the business of restoration. He brings beauty out of ashes and you are truly beautiful! I pray your family clings to the truth of Ephesians 1:3-10. We are chosen, adopted, accepted, loved, forgiven, redeemed and made privy to His glorious wisdom all for His good pleasure. Glory!! Let's all get our one foot out of the world and press on. He is coming soon!
I love you! You are in my prayers; strength, peace, confidence in Jesus.
Reply Val
12:18 PM on October 12, 2010 
The people in the land "claimed to be servants of the true God since the time they had been brought to the land by Esarhaddon, king of Assyria. So they wanted to be part of the work." Although they worshipped God they continued to worship other pagan gods; therefore God rejected their worship.

Boy did I need to hear this! My life has been a big mess, atleast from this side. I am certain that God sees something much more beautiful than I...

I was raised in a very abusive home and was fortunate to live with different Christian families from the time I was about 11-17. I heard God but did not understand the pain. I was raped twice and married an abusive man and remained trapped in that marriage for ten years in which I had three beautitul babies. My kids have suffered along my journey and so many things have happened that have caused real hurt in my life and the lives of others. I didn't know, when I was young, how to have a personal relationship with Christ. Therefore, I often had one foot in a life with Christ and the other foot in the world. This was from a lack of understanding and immaturity; not to mention, I often felt judged by the church and Christians.

Now... I am secure in Christ, yet the need to be accepted often puts one foot back in the world. Before it was ignorance now?? maybe lack of self worth, need for acceptance, insecurity... Yet the truth is that God fills all these voids!!! If we do not have our whole heart invested in Christ our worship may be rejected.... The oximoron is that HE provides all that I need! I am a leaking vessel that must constantly go to him for filling, tickling of the flesh doesn't even fill, it is deceiving!

When I look back, GOD WAS ALWAYS THERE WITH ARMS WIDE OPEN... I often ran the other way...He was gracious to keep coming back for me and even still stands peacefully with arms wide open, waiting on me to come to him for rest and a filling that is so needed!

Holy Father, please fill us all today! Show us where we have gone away and lead us home, in our thoughts and deeds. We seek to have worship that is pleasing to you!!