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Ezra - The Jews return to build

Ezra - The Jews return to build

We sandwich Ezra in between the book of Numbers this week. Ezra is about the prophetic fulfilment of the return of Israel to Jerusalem as they build on the promises of God.

Ezra 1: The Proclamation of Cyrus

1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:

2 "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

3 Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel---he is the God who is in Jerusalem.

4 And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem."

5 Then rose up the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem.

6 And all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered.

7 Cyrus the king also brought out the vessels of the house of the LORD that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods.

8 Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.

9 And this was the number of them: 30 basins of gold, 1,000 basins of silver, 29 censers,

10 30 bowls of gold, 410 bowls of silver, and 1,000 other vessels;

11 all the vessels of gold and of silver were 5,400. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.

Ezra 2:The Exiles Return

1 Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town.

2 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.The number of the men of the people of Israel:

3 the sons of Parosh, 2,172.

4 The sons of Shephatiah, 372.

5 The sons of Arah, 775.

6 The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,812.

7 The sons of Elam, 1,254.

8 The sons of Zattu, 945.

9 The sons of Zaccai, 760.

10 The sons of Bani, 642.

11 The sons of Bebai, 623.

12 The sons of Azgad, 1,222.

13 The sons of Adonikam, 666.

14 The sons of Bigvai, 2,056.

15 The sons of Adin, 454.

16 The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98.

17 The sons of Bezai, 323.

18 The sons of Jorah, 112.

19 The sons of Hashum, 223.

20 The sons of Gibbar, 95.

21 The sons of Bethlehem, 123.

22 The men of Netophah, 56.

23 The men of Anathoth, 128.

24 The sons of Azmaveth, 42.

25 The sons of Kiriath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, 743.

26 The sons of Ramah and Geba, 621.

27 The men of Michmas, 122.

28 The men of Bethel and Ai, 223.

29 The sons of Nebo, 52.

30 The sons of Magbish, 156.

31 The sons of the other Elam, 1,254.

32 The sons of Harim, 320.

33 The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 725.

34 The sons of Jericho, 345.

35 The sons of Senaah, 3,630.

36 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, 973.

37 The sons of Immer, 1,052.

38 The sons of Pashhur, 1,247.

39 The sons of Harim, 1,017.

40 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, 74.

41 The singers: the sons of Asaph, 128.

42 The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, in all 139.

43 The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth,

44 the sons of Keros, the sons of Siaha, the sons of Padon,

45 the sons of Lebanah, the sons of Hagabah, the sons of Akkub,

46 the sons of Hagab, the sons of Shamlai, the sons of Hanan,

47 the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah,

48 the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam,

49 the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai,

50 the sons of Asnah, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephisim,

51 the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur,

52 the sons of Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha,

53 the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Temah,

54 the sons of Neziah, and the sons of Hatipha.

55 The sons of Solomon's servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Hassophereth, the sons of Peruda,

56 the sons of Jaalah, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel,

57 the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth-hazzebaim, and the sons of Ami.

58 All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon's servants were 392.

59 The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, though they could not prove their fathers' houses or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel:

60 the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, 652.

61 Also, of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, and the sons of Barzillai (who had taken a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name).

62 These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but they were not found there, and so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.

63 The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until there should be a priest to consult Urim and Thummim.

64 The whole assembly together was 42,360,

65 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337, and they had 200 male and female singers.

66 Their horses were 736, their mules were 245,

67 their camels were 435, and their donkeys were 6,720.

68 Some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site.

69 According to their ability they gave to the treasury of the work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver, and 100 priests' garments.

70 Now the priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel in their towns.

Things to think about…

1.It's interesting to read that the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem, Ez 1:1,2. Isaiah calls Cyrus His servant, Isa 44:28, 45:1. Yet Cyrus was a pagan Persian. God often uses worldly kings to achieve His purposes for His people. I take great comfort in this. Cyrus was fulfilling what was prophesied by Jeremiah, that God's people would return after 70 years and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Pray for the re-building of the church in Australia, especially our city of Ipswich. After this virus has passed through, many communities will have to re-build.

2.The people who didn't go back to Jerusalem were encouraged to contribute and give to the people who did go back to Jerusalem, Ez 1:3,4. This was similar to what happened when the Egyptians gave to the Israelites who left to go to. There was still a large community of Jews living in modern day Iraq (where Babylon was) up until the early 1950's when they resettled back into Israel after it was declared a state in 1948.

3.Look at all these names and numbers in Ezra 2. There are about 50 000 males listed here – so there would have been 3 to 4 times this number in total returning to Jerusalem. That only leaves around 200 000 at the most. This is about one tenth of those who established themselves in the land initially. We know after the Romans wiped out Jerusalem in AD70 very few remained in Israel. 1 Million were slaughtered and around 90 000 were taken captive to Rome. In 1948 the Jewish population in Israel was 806, 000. Today there are 6.5 million Jews in Israel.

4.Jewish folk keep their records very well. And those who returned in 536BC from Babylon had to be listed according to their lineage and hence their tribe. Only the Levites could minister at the temple. Some could not be registered because the records of their genealogies were not intact. The priest had to consult the Urim and Thummim to discern the Lord's will regarding these men, Ez 2:63. The Jewish rabbis still require strict recording standards to be kept if one is to marry as a Jew in Israel today.

5.There was a descent amount of capital and resources to start the temple rebuilding program. Ez 2:69, 61,000 darics of gold is equivalent to around $40 Million in today's coin.

Vision Point

CBC's Vision :- To be a growing biblical church community, significantly influencing our city and beyond, through intentional outreach, fulfilling our mission.

Prayer Points

1.Corona virus and how churches in Australia and around the world will appropriately deal with this pandemic.

2.New people as they settle into the life of the church.

3.Live streaming our services from the 29th March.

4.Podcast logo completed. Podcast is entitled "Face and Faith". Coming shortly

5.Sunday's message on Num 5:1-10 "Cleaning up our act" - Doug Horne.

6.Sick, elderly as they recover. Graheme Monteith at home with leg infection – Cellulitis. Pray for the elderly win our church who are susceptible to lung infections.

7.Finish "Bean Redeemed" coffee shop and podcast area.

8.Church finances to meet our expenses.

9.Our City and Country – Pray for revival over our city and the leadership of our country.

Praise Points.

1.Swift response to the virus in Australia

2.Praise the Lord for more new people to CBC.

3.New Website and Podcast logo completed – Praise God for Melody and Suzie making this happen.

4.Recharge blessed again – thankyou leaders. New youth (who have never been to church).

5.Unity, peace and Christ's love over our church.

Announcements

1.Horne - Hosting, on Sunday morning. No café or morning tea this Sunday.

2.Bean Redeemed café will be closed until further notice.

3.No Kids@Church until further notice.

4.No Recharge youth until further notice.

5.No Axiom evening services until further notice.

6.Saturday Men's activity – 28th March helping at Darrel and Jean's place. House tidy working bee. 8:00am start. Contact Tim or Steve for more details.

7.Combined Church youth event – Postponed until further notice.

March catechism question...

Q. 10. What is the third petition?
A. "Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."

Bible Reference – Matt.6:10; Luke 11:2.



"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jer 33:3

Pastor Jay

The building program starts then stalls
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