A look at the OT book of Ezra

What is the book of Ezra about, and might it have some relevance for our situation today? Watch/listen to a review of this somewhat neglected OT book, split into 3 ‘bite-size’ sections.

An Aide-Memoire for an overview of Ezra

  1. Background
    Overall context of God’s purpose for Israel – Genesis 12:2-3
    Exile in Babylon (and why) – Jeremiah 22 & 25 (particularly)
    Also Zechariah 1:1-6
    Significance of Jerusalem & Temple; Worship & Atonement –
    1 Kings 5 & 6, Lev 1 to 5
    God’s promises via the prophets – Jeremiah 29:10-14 & 31:1-6 etc
    Isaiah 44:28 & 45:1-3 etc
  2. Narrative
    Cyrus’s decree (Ch 1: 2-4)
    Role of Jeshua & Zerubbabel (Chs 3:2,8, 4:2,3, 5:2)
    Priority of Altar for Burnt Offerings and Atonement (Ch 3:1-6)
    Initial achievement (Ch 3:10-13)
    Challenges to be faced (Ch 3:3, Ch 4:1,2,4,5,6-24, Ch 5:3-10)
    Tactics of the opposition – Infiltration, Intimidation, Fabrication
    Need for fresh exhortation – Haggai & Zechariah (Ez 5:1 & Haggai)
    Darius’s decree (Ch 6: 3-12)
    Completion & celebration (Ch 6: 15-22)
    Journey of Ezra from Babylon – his attributes & mission (Chs 7 & 8)
    Questions to be answered (Ch 7:14, Ch 9:10-15)
    Ezra’s despair & prayer (Ch 9)
    Ezra’s actions (Ch 10: 1-11)
    The people’s response (Ch 10: 12-17)
  3. Some lessons
    (i) God’s covenant promises to His people will be honoured, often
    in unexpected ways and at unexpected times; He is in control;
    (ii) God’s people are to live distinctively, in line with His law;
    (iii) The significance of public worship, acknowledging one’s
    failings together with God’s grace & mercy;
    (iv) So God’s people can be salt and light in an ‘uncomfortable’
    world – ‘fit for purpose whatever the situation’.

Posted by Team editor