Sunday, July 7, 2013

On 7-14-13, Ezra 6:13-22 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Dedicating the Temple aka Dedication of the Temple

Dedicating the Temple aka Dedication of the Temple
Ezra 6:13-22
International Sunday School Lesson
July 14, 2013

Jed Greenough

If I were choosing a title for this week’s scripture I might have chosen something along the lines of Exile to Exultation.  But that would be me a man making it about man and really what struck me as I considered today’s scripture and the ones that we have recently looked at in Ezra is that it wasn’t about men.
Yes, the people of Israel were being freed from exile but it was God’s promise that this would happen and the duration of it that this would be so.  Jeremiah 25:11-12 and 29:10
Yes, God used men such as the Babylonians and the Persians to take His people into exile and to release them from the same (Ezra 1) but it was for His purposes.
Had I been writing the story instead of receiving it through inspiration I would have built out the character of Cyrus the king.  I would have chosen someone from the family heads of Judah or Benjamin and probably too some Levite to make you have an invested interest.  I probably would have built upon some drama to keep that interest.
Interestingly enough there was plenty of drama but God never saw it necessary to expand upon it just to report it.
There was the miraculous fulfillment of prophecy as we know from Ezra 1 but it was simply recounted.  There were the thousands of items from the temple that had not been melted down or scattered that were still intact.  Thousands of people likewise still intact in that they identified with their tribe, their former region and even duties.  All fascinating but merely stated.
The Samarians offered to help but were rebuffed and so spurned managed to get the building stopped. (Ezra 4)
One doesn’t get the sense that after all the drama of returning from exile to rebuild the temple that it should be stopped, was a problem.  Instead the years rolled by, moving not according to the men who would die and those who would be born, but according to God’s timetable.
At the right point in His calendar God stirred up Haggai and Zechariah and they in turn stirred up the Jews and the rebuilding began again.  (Ezra 5:1-2).
Today finds us at the exultation point as we see the celebration as the people celebrated the dedication of the rebuilt temple.
One doesn’t think too much of the book of Ezra as a source of learning in our walk in the Way other than for historical purposes but it really is just that.
We can see that we are His and live to serve Him and bring Him glory.  We may face obstacles as we set out to build a church, a class or a study, or some other ministry.  We may come to a standstill; we might have starts and stops along the way.  We might not be the ones who are successful in accomplishing the task.  But when we enter those times of frustration and we have made it about ourselves we can stop and consider the book of Ezra and remember it is all happening according to His plan and in the end He will receive the glory.

For Discussion:
1.      Discuss the examples you can give of successes and failures for some even yourself and then others accomplishing the task
2.      Discuss the length of time that the rebuild took in total
3.      Discuss man’s role
4.      Discuss God’s time table
5.      With regard to what the people were doing in the interim read Hagai 1
6.      Read Exodus 12:1-30 about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
7.      Remember not all had been in exile 6:21

Upcoming Lessons
7-21-13:  Fasting and Praying Ezra 7:6-10; 8:21-23 or 8:21-23
7-28-13:  Giving Gifts for the Temple aka Gifts for the Temple Ezra 8:24-35 or 8:24-30
8-4-13:    Feast of Tabernacles aka Festival of Booths Nehemiah 8:2, 3, 13-18 or 8:13-18
8-11-13:  Community of Confession Nehemiah 9:2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 30-36

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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