Begin this session by reading Scripture and answering questions to reflect on the selected Bible verses.
The Babylonian Empire, who forced the Israelites into exile, was overthrown by the Persian Empire. The
Persians declared that Jews could return to Jerusalem 70 years after they went into captivity. The Persians
helped the Israelites, and other people, return from exile.
In Ezra, the king supported the efforts of the Israelites to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, the centerpoint of their worship. Their opponents viewed the reestablishment of the Temple as a threat to their
power. The Temple was completed, but required the involvement of the entire community, encountered serious opposition, and took several years.
With prayer, and with the support of the king of Persia, Nehemiah was able to return to Jerusalem to oversee the construction of the walls. Rebuilding these walls signified the people’s freedom from their opponent’s threats and the return of Jerusalem as an important city.
The historical books record the activities of God in the lives of the Israelites and the history of their faithfulness to God. How would you describe the history of God in your life?
In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, God used kings who worshipped other gods to accomplish His will. How does that shape your thinking about who and what God can use to accomplish His will?
Ezra and Nehemiah faced great opposition when they sought the will of God. How do we encourage God’s will and accomplishments in the lives of others?
The people who opposed the rebuilding of the Temple and the walls viewed the projects through a selfish lens, thinking only of what it would cost them. In what ways do we oppose God’s activity in other’s lives because of our selfish desires?