Ezra Bible Study

Ezra: Lesson 4

ezra-study-e1465330077513Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3

Ezra 3

When the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people gathered as one man to Jerusalem. Then arose Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel with his kinsmen, and they built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. They set the altar in its place, for fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, burnt offerings morning and evening. And they kept the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the rule, as each day required, and after that the regular burnt offerings, the offerings at the new moon and at all the appointed feasts of the Lord, and the offerings of everyone who made a freewill offering to the Lord. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid. So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from Cyrus king of Persia.

Now in the second year after their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their kinsmen, the priests and the Levites and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity. They appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to supervise the work of the house of the Lord. And Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together supervised the workmen in the house of God, along with the sons of Henadad and the Levites, their sons and brothers.

10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the directions of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,

“For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. Read Ezra 3 and summarize the story line in 1-2 sentences. What was the first thing the people did when they arrived in Jerusalem after coming out of exile? (1, also 2:70) After the people had settled into their homes and towns, what was the first structure they built? (2) The second? (10)

2. What does verse 1 mean when it says the people gathered “as one man“? In what aspects can the church come together “as one man” when we meet for worship or do Kingdom work? Who led the way in rebuilding the altar (2-3) and what were their positions of leadership over the people?

3. In verses 2-6, what do the phrases “as it is written in the Law of Moses” (2), “as it is written,” and “according to the rule” (4), mean? How do the people’s actions in these verses show that their worship was guided by Scripture and carried out in obedience to it? How do the altar and the sacrifices point us to Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross?  Consider the worship service at your church. Are all aspects of the service guided by Scripture and carried out in obedience to it? Does your worship service center around Christ and the cross?

4. Considering the spiritual significance of the first temple, why would it have been important to rebuild the temple? Compare verses 8-10 with Luke 6:46-49. What are some parallels between Israel laying the foundation of the temple according to God’s word and the foundation of our faith today being obedience to Christ and His word?

5. Compare verses 11-13 with 2 Chronicles 7:1-10. What are some of the similarities and differences between the people’s response to completion of Solomon’s temple and their response to the laying of the foundation of the post-exilic temple? (Especially compare v. 11 with 7:3 and v. 12-13 with 7:10). Was there any weeping at the completion of Solomon’s temple? Why would the “old men” have been weeping in verses 11-12? Recalling all that had happened to Israel between the completion of Solomon’s temple and the laying of the foundation of the post-exilic temple, was there good reason for both joy and weeping? What were those reasons?

6. In what ways could the laying of the foundation of the temple be considered Israel’s being “born again”? Think about…

…how the exile points to our captivity by the enemy and bondage to sin

…how God delivered His people from bondage through Jeshua the high priest, who “made a beginning” (8) of the foundation, and how God delivered us through Yeshua our High Priest who made a beginning – the beginning and the end, the founder and perfecter – of our faith.

…how the people mourned over the sin that had destroyed God’s ideal dwelling yet rejoiced over beginning a new life with Him, delivered and forgiven, and how we do the same when we come to new life in Christ.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Haggai 1

haggai 1 4

Haggai 1

In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce.11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord‘s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” 14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came andworked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 Questions to Consider:

1. What is the purpose of the book of Haggai? Which genre(s) of biblical literature (prophecy, epistle, narrative, wisdom, etc.) is the book of Haggai? What is the historical backdrop for this book?

2. What was the people’s position on rebuilding the temple? (2) Did God agree with them? What did God say about the priority of rebuilding the temple? (3-4) Read Acts 7:48-50. If God doesn’t need a building to live in, why was it so important to Him, and to the people, that they rebuild the temple? What are the two reasons God gave for rebuilding the temple? (8)

3. List the negative consequences the people experienced for neglecting to rebuild the temple. (6,9,10-11) What reason did God give for sending these negative consequences (9), and what was their intended purpose? What does God mean when He says, “Consider your ways,” in verse 5? In verse 7?

4. What were the two ways the people responded to the prophecy? (12) What were the two ways God responded back to them? (13-14) How is this similar to God’s response to our repentance? How would the words “restoration” and “reconciliation” apply in both this passage and in our repentance today?

5. What does this passage teach us about prioritizing our relationship with Christ, and our obedience to His word, above all other temporal concerns and activities? What can we learn about the negative consequences of sin? Has God ever used the negative consequences of sin to get your attention and draw you to repentance? What is God’s response to our repentance and obedience?