Sunday, February 19th, 2016
Ezra is a book centered on fresh awakenings and new beginnings. Capturing the Sovereign God’s dedication to His covenant promises, the book is broken up into two sections governed by two different returns of the Jewish community from exile to the promised land. The first section, in chapters 1-6 focuses on the rebuilding of the temple while the second section chapters 7-10 focuses on Ezra as scribe and priest and his administration of God’s law. The book teaches us about God’s sovereignty and His faithfulness to His promises as well as our obligation to faithfulness, purity, and holiness.
- Ezra 9 is a solemn chapter. Ezra leads the community in a prayer of confession before the Lord in marrying foreign wives as means of political and religious treaties with the “people of the land” thus suppressing their faith. Why is confession before God such an important action? (See 1st John 1:9).
- Is confession for sin an important part of your relationship with God?
- How would your relationship with God be altered if you implemented confession into it?
- How is Ezra’s intercessory prayer an example of how we should pray for each other in our Missional Communities?
- Using Ezra’s prayer and the New Testament, how are we suppose to confront sin within our communities?
For Further Discussion:
- Ezra’s response to the report of the people’s sin is reminiscent of actions certain people took to mourn for the dead (See Genesis 37:34; Job 1:20; 2:13; Isaiah 22:12😉 In essence, his actions displayed the notion that the community deserved “judgement for death”. How does the solemnity with which Ezra responded affect your view of the justice of God and the holiness with which He has called us to live?
- Though there is a major emphasis on the sins of the people in Ezra’s prayer, verses 8 and 9 shine through and show the mercy and grace of God even amidst this atrocity showing us that He can work amidst the bleakest situations. How does the fact that God’s mercy and grace shine through in dire situations affect your view of God?
- Has there been a time in your life when you have seen God’s work in a difficult season cohere with Ezra’s statements in these verses?