Scripture: Ezra 1-3. Click here to view full scripture.
Observation: What was going on in the Bible at this time?
Cyrus had been king over the area that had once been Assyria and Babylon. God had worked through Cyrus to return the exiled Jews back to their homeland of Jerusalem. Just like Daniel, Ezra was another man of God. He knew God’s Word and fully believed and obeyed it. When Ezra learned of the Israelites’ sins, he immediately prayed to God for the nation. The captives from Judah were allowed to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple; however, the people grew discouraged from opposition. Follow along in Ezra 1-3!
Application: How can we apply this to our lives?
We all face difficult situations in life. When we face struggles, we can remember that God’s almighty power is not limited to our resources. He is able to use anyone to carry out His plans. The Jews had worked together to accomplish the big task of rebuilding the temple. Each function was important in order to accomplish the task(s) at hand. Whenever we are asked to serve, we must do so faithfully as a team member, no matter who will get the credit. God has different tasks for each of us, but we must obey when we are told to do something. After many years of captivity, the people’s attitudes and desires had changed. God had ended their punishment and gave them another opportunity to be at home and try again. God wants us to be humble, move at His direction, and be willing to be open to the opportunities that He gives us. He wants our desire to be following Him and His ways for our lives. As the temple was being reconstructed, everyone contributed freewill offerings according to what they were able to give. God wants us, too, to give generously, to give to Him first, and not just our “leftovers.” God wants to be our first priority in life. All of our good gifts and blessings come from our Father up above. We must be sure to thank Him on a daily basis for everything that He has done and is doing in our lives.
Prayer: What can we pray for in regards to these passages?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the examples and stories that You have placed in Your Word for us to learn from. Thank You for the Book of Ezra and the lessons that come from each chapter. Father, we know that we are sinners, and we ask for Your forgiveness. Please help us to always follow Your ways for us, obeying and praising You through all circumstances in our lives. Please help us to love and obey You wholeheartedly. Please help us to love our enemies and to forgive those who have hurt us, as well. Please be with those who have rejected You, and help them to return to You, Father, before judgement. Help us to treat others with kindness, and help us to show the same traits to others as You do, following Your example. Help us to trust in Your care and provision in each of our lives. Even though we do not always get what we want in life, we know that You know what is best for us. Please help us to draw near to You, and please protect us from giving in to the pressures of this fallen world. We want to live Godly lives. When we face struggles in this life, Father, please help us to call upon You. Help us also to be more compassionate toward others who are struggling in this evil world, as well. Help us to be Your hands and feet in this world, and guide us in the right paths for our lives. Help us to trust in Your timing for our lives, and help us not to grow impatient. We thank You for Your son Jesus who died to free us from the slavery of our sins. Thank You for the unique gifts and talents that You give to each one of us; help us to work in unity with others to accomplish Your plan. Thank You for the promise of one day living in eternity with You. Please guide and protect us, our friends, families, pets, and our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering. We love You and thank You for everything. – in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.