Brave Hearts Ministry

Ezra


Memory Verse: “Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord.” (Ezra 7:10)

 

Facts about Ezra

 

Author: Unknown

Main Subjects: Return of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon, the rebuilding of the temple, and the inauguration of social and religious reforms.

Location: Old Testament

 

Overview

 

Lesson #1: Ezra 1:1-11                 A lesson in obedience

Lesson #2: Ezra 3:8-13                 Building the temple

Lesson #3: Ezra 4:1-5                   Overcoming opposition

Lesson #4: Ezra 7:6-10, 25-28      Helping each other

Lesson #5: Ezra 8:21-23, 31-32    Return to Jerusalem

 

Lesson #1: A lesson in obedience; Read Ezra 1:1-11

 

     “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:

 

     This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

 

     ‘The lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.  Anyone of his people among you – may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.  And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’

 

     Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites – everyone whose heart God had moved – prepared to go up and guild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.  All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and god, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.  Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god.  Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.

 

 

 

     This was the inventory:

     Gold dishes                        30

     Silver dishes                   1000

     Silver pans                         29

     Gold bowls                        30

     Matching silver bowls      410

     Other articles                  1000

 

     In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver.  Sheshbazzar brought all these along when the exiles came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

 

1.              Who was the king of Persia? (Cyrus, vs1)

2.              Who told Cyrus to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem? (God, vs1)

3.              Who volunteered to go and rebuild the temple? (Chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, the priests, and the Levites, and others whom God had called, vs.5).

4.              What did the kind give to the people to help build the temple? (Gold, silver, vs. 11).

5.              How many vessels did the king give to the people? (5,400, vs. 11). Ask the kids how much they think the gold and silver was worth?

6.              As children of God, who are we to be obedient to? (parents, teachers, elders, those in authority)

7.              If we obey, does God bless us? (provide a personal example, let the kids provide their own examples)

8.              What is the opposite of obedience? (defiance)

9.              What happens to those who defy God, parents, teachers? (provide examples)

10.          Why is it hard to obey? (answers will vary)

 

Summary: One of the hardest things to do is to be obedient.  God calls us to obey those placed in authority over us.  Pray that God will give us hearts of obedience.

 

Lesson #2 Building the Temple; Read 3:8-13

 

     “In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jozadak and the rest of their brothers (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work, appointing Levites 20 years of age and older to supervise the building of the house of the Lord.  Jeshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers – all Levites – joined together in supervising those working on the house of God.

 

      When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel.  With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:

 

     ‘He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.’

 

     And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.  But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.  No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise.  And the sound was heard far away.”

 

1.                    Who was selected to build the temple of the Lord? (Levites who were 20 years old and older, vs. 8)

2.                    What happened after the builders had built the foundation of the temple of the Lord? (Priests were called to praise the Lord, v. 10)

3.                    How did the priests praise the Lord? (Singing, praising, and giving thanks, vs. 10).

4.                    Why did they give thanks to the Lord? (“because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever” vs. 11)

5.                    How did the people respond? (the people shouted, the elders wept, vs. 12)

6.                    What are things that you are thankful for? (let the children list all the things that they are thankful for).

7.                    How can we praise the Lord for the things that we are thankful for? (praying, singing, giving thanks)

 

Summary: We have so much to be thankful for and often times we take the things that we have for granted.  We need to continuously praise and thank God for the good things that he has done for us.

 

Lesson #3 Overcoming Opposition; Read 4:1-5

 

   “When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, ‘Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhadon king of Assyria, who brought us here.’

 

     But Zerubbabel, Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered,        ‘You have no part with us in building a temple to our God.  We alone will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.’

 

     Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.  They hired counselors to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia.”

 

1.              What is an adversary? (Someone who causes trouble)

2.              What did these adversaries want to do? (they wanted to help build the temple, vs.2)

3.              What was the response from the fathers of Israel? (their offered was rejected, vs. 3)

4.              Then how did the people respond? (they became violent opposers, causing the suspension of the work, vs. 4, 5,)

5.              Who do you think would want to stop God’s plans? (Satan and he is tricky about it)

6.              Who is God’s greatest adversary? (Satan)

7.              Satan will try to trip us up in our Christian walk.  What are some things you can do to stay in obedience? (let the children provide examples: read the bible, pray, go to Sunday School, go to Brave Hearts, stay focused on God, be aware that Satan will try to trip us up).

 

Summary: Satan is God’s greatest adversary and he is constantly looking for ways to take our eyes off of God.  We can stay focused by keeping our minds on the things of Christ.

 

Lesson #4: Helping Each Other, Read 7:6-10, 25-28

 

     “Ezra came up from Babylon.  He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given.  The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.  Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.

 

     Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king.  He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him.  For Ezra had devoted himself to the student and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.

 

     And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God, which you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates – all who know the laws of your God.  And you are to teach any who do not know them.  Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.

 

     Praise be to the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisors and all the king’s powerful officials.  Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.”

 

1.         What was Ezra prepared to do? (seek the law, live it, and to teach the Israelites, vs. 10)

2.         God calls us to “seek his word”.  What does that mean? (we need to actively read the bible, not just in Sunday school).

3.         What can we learn from the bible? (let the kids take turns answering this).

4.         Are we called to just read the bible or are we suppose to live what we believe?

5.         Ezra was called to help others by being a teacher.  How can you help others in the body of Christ? (answers will vary; let the kids think about their talents and how they can help others)

6.         When you are following God’s call for your life, what will He do? (strengthen you, vs. 28) Provide examples from your own life.

 

Summary: We are called to be helpers. We need to be vigilant looking for opportunities to help others.  God will provide opportunities for us when we are actively following Him.

 

Lesson #5: Return to Jerusalem, Read 8:21-23; 31-32

 

     “There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.  I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because se had told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’  So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

 

     On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem.  The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.  So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.”

 

1.         What did the people do by the river of Ahava? (fasted, vs. 21).

2.         What is a “fast” and why do people “fast”? (A fast is an act of sacrifice by giving up food. People fast in different ways including fasting a food item, one meal, or a day of fasting.  The purpose is to spend the time focusing on God and hearing his voice).

3.         What was God’s response? (He heard their prayers, vs. 23)

4.         What was the result? (The people departed from the river of Ahava, and the hand of God was upon them, and He delivered them from their enemy, vs. 31).

5.         Does God always answer your prayers? (No – for He knows what is best for us.  Sometimes we ask for things that might take us away from him).

6.         What are examples of things that we might ask for that God might not grant? (provide some examples, or ask the kids for some).

 

Summary:  When we ask God for things that align us with His will, He will bless us.  Sometimes the greatest blessing that God can give is to not answer our prayers.  Help us to always seek God’s will for our lives.

 

*The scriptures used for this study were taken from the “Young Women of Faith Bible New International Version published in 2001 by the Zondervan Corporation.


Posted 1.9.09