LEADERS OF THE RETURN FROM BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY: EZRA (1)
Updated: Feb 9, 2022
Saturday Bible Study
Date: January 8, 2022
Scripture: Ezra 7:1-10
Speaker: Pastor James Park
The Israelites were deported into Babylonian captivity on three occasions because of the sin for not keeping the Sabbath day and year, and idolatry. However, after 70 years were completed, the Israelites were able to make their return back home in three returns. The first return in ________ BC focused on the construction of the Zerubbabel temple under the leaders Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest. The second return in ________ BC focused on the restoration of the covenantal community and education of the law (Word) led by Ezra. The third and last return in ________ BC focused on the rebuilding of the city
walls and the spiritual renewal through the leader Nehemiah. In the next few weeks, we will focus on the leaders of the return starting with Ezra.
1. Meaning of Ezra’s name
Ezra means “________”. Just as his name implies, Ezra always prayed to God for help in dependence and trust.
(1) Ezra prayed as he started his return back to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:21)
(2) Ezra prayed during his return back to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:23, 31)
(3) Ezra prayed and wept with the people (Ezra 10:1)
(4) Ezra continually prayed and fasted for his people (Ezra 10:6)
Application: We must always depend on God for help through prayer.
(Psalm 121:1-2 NAS) A Song of Ascents. I Will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From whence shall my help come? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
(Exodus 2:23-25 NAS) Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. 24 So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 And God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.
2. Ezra’s roots
He was the ________ descendant of Aaron the high priest.
(Ezra 7:1-5 NAS) Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, there went up Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2 son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3 son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4 son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5 son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest.
(There are omissions between Meraioth and Azaraiah → Amaraiah, Ahitub, Zadok, Ahimaaz, Azaraiah, Johanan – refer to Book 6 genealogy of the Levites).
3. Ezra’s calling
Ezra’s He was both priest and a scribe who was skilled in the law (Ezra 7:6; Prov 22:29).
(Ezra 7:6 NAS) This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the LORD his God was upon him.
(Proverbs 22:29 NAS) Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
The Hebrew word for skilled is mahir meaning “quick, prompt, ready and ________”.
① expert or skilled
② quick and efficient in handling all matters
③ gifted with wisdom, understanding and discernment
Ezra was diligent and disciplined both in his spiritual life and character.
Are we good and faithful servants or wicked and lazy servants?
(1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NAS) Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.
(Acts 20:24 NAS) "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
(Romans 12:11 NAS) not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
Good and faithful servants Wicked and lazy servants
Diligent and works (Matt 25:16) Likes to sleep (spiritually and physically)
Ministers a timely Word Lacks discipline and discernment
(Prov 15:23; Matt 24:25) Does not make progress Makes excuses
(Prov 6:9; 20:4; 26:13-16)
Pleasing to the owner (Prov 25:13)
Ezra was the ________________ of God used in a time of transition from captivity to a life of faith within the covenantal community of the people of God (Prov 20:27).
(Proverbs 20:27 NAS) The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the innermost parts of his being.
(1 Samuel 3:1-3 NAS) Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. 2 And it happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was