Listen to our bonus season
the study of EZRA
Ezra Chapter 4
IN THIS EPISODE
- Ezra 4:1-5 | First encounter with the enemy. Who are these people? | 2:34
- Ezra 4:6-8 | Opposition continues through generations and kings | 19:17
- Ezra 4:9-17 | A letter to manipulate the king | 23:20
- Ezra 4:18-24 | King Artaxerxes’s reply | 26:55
- Living It Out + Takeaways | 31:22
1 | Syncretism
Syncretism is the practice of taking parts of different religions or worldviews and blending them together. It is very common in today’s world. The people living in the land have added God to the list of gods that they worshipped. But the true God is not one among many gods. He is the one true God who created and rules the universe. He calls us to worship Him alone. He does not share his worship with other false gods who do not deserve our worship. You see, they had just added Jesus to their collection of gods. The Jews in Ezra 4 knew that this was not what God had called them to. YHWH was not one of many gods. When Jesus calls us to himself, he calls us to worship only him.
2 | Opposition. Expect It.
Ezra 4 is focused around the theme of opposition to God’s people. Israel’s enemies consistently try to thwart the rebuilding of the Temple and city walls. There will always be opposition to God’s plans for his people. Jesus told us to expect that in our lives (John 15:19-20; Matthew 10:16-18). The fact that we experience opposition and trouble does not mean God is not in control. In fact, we see God turning the tables on his enemies throughout Scripture. If we can jump ahead to Ezra 5-6, we see Israel’s enemies write a letter to the king to try and stop the Jews, but it backfires and they are forced to help rebuild the walls. God takes the very thing meant to stop them and uses it to complete his plans. He does the same thing with Jesus and his enemies in the NT. The religious rulers are very intentional to NOT arrest Jesus during the Passover, but God forces their hand anyway and uses it for his own purpose. He uses the very thing meant to oppose him to fulfill his purpose. That is real power.
3 | How we respond to it demonstrates our faith in God
God calls the Jews to rebuild the Temple and city walls, but then allows Israel’s enemies to stop their progress for decades. God is calling his people to figure out what it looks like to be patient and follow him even when things are not easy. Romans 5:3-5 says, “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” When faith is difficult, that is when we get to grow by learning to trust God when it’s hard.
In this episode, Matt and Neil delve into Ezra chapter 4. The people living in the land try to discourage and slow progress on the temple construction. Are these the ancestors of the Samaritans from Jesus’ time? Learn how the Israelites respond to generations of opposition. What does it look like for us to live our lives faithfully when faith is difficult? Join us for this episode of the Mission Hills Men’s Bible Study Podcast.
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