Saturday, November 14, 2009

Revive Us Too Ezra 5 091115PM@TBC

I am thinking about the things that God has lead us to do, commitments we have made about our spiritual disciplines, etc... that have kind of gone by the wayside.

A) Old Testament  
Approximate dates
2000  -  Abraham leaves Ur and sacrifices to one God
            -   Gen 12.1 "I will make of you a great nation."
1500  -  Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land.
         -  Ex.20.2 "I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Thou shalt…"
1000  -  David rules the unified kingdom of Israel.  
           -  He is followed by his son, Solomon, 
who builds the temple in Jerusalem.
500    -  Zerrubbabel, Ezra, & Nehemiah lead Jews back to the promised land.
           -  The last minor prophet, Malachi, finishes the OT about 4oo years before Christ.

B) Post-Exile Timeline
p Nebuchadnezzar—Destroys the temple in 586BC
Cyrus—539BC conquers Babylon and decrees return of peoples to their lands. 
Cabyses not mentioned in Ezra.
Pseudo Smerdis - An usurper who ruled less than a year. 519BC
Darius I (the Great) - The temple was completed during his reign.
p Note the overlap in the timeline with the end of  Darius's reign.
There is almost 60 years between Zerubbabel and Ezra.
Ahasuerus - Esther's husband.
Artezerxes I - Ezra and Nehemiah returned during his 40+ year reign. 

C) Three Returns
Three Returns to the Land    
Zerubbabel – 539-515BC - Temple Rebuilt - Ezra 1-6
2. Ezra – 458BC - People Reformed – Ezra 7-10
3. Nehemiah – 444-425BC - Wall Built – Nehemiah 1-10

D) In Ezra
1. Theme of the whole book: 
We need to trust, serve, and obey the sovereign God 
who keeps His covenant and restores His people.
2. Chapter summaries
Ch. 1 – Cyrus Decreed        539 BC (Cyrus becomes king.)
Ch. 2 -  People Return        539 BC
Ch. 3 -  Foundation Laid    536 BC
Ch. 4 -  Work Opposed in General
Ch. 5 -  Work Resumed       520 BC  (Darius I becomes king.)
Ch. 6 -  Temple Finished   516 BC

The section from 4.8 thru 6.18 is in Aramaic.  
All but about 15 verses in this section are rough quotations of official correspondence to and from the Persian kings. (5.1-6, 6.1-2 and 6.13-22 provide narration.)
Chapters 5 and 6 form one unit together, but its size makes it necessary to cover it in two sermons.
This week we will study the resumption of the building, and next week you will look at the completion of the Temple and the Passover celebration.

A) Outline
1. State of affairs  4.24
2. Prophets Prophesied  5.1
3. Leaders Rise and Build  5.2
4.  Elders answer Tattenai 5.10-16

B) Big Idea for chapter five.
God's wants us to arise and obey His commands.

The work of rebuilding the temple had been put a stop to through the intrigues of the Samaritans.   
& EZRA 4
 4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, 5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. 

Verses 6-23 are not part of this chronology and illustrate generally the nature of the continuous opposition to the Jews.
They are part of a logical thought pattern. Verse 24 refers back to verse 5.

24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. 

The contrast between
the joyous 3:10-11 and 
the dower and discouraging 4:25.
Ezra 3:10-11 
10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: 
      “For He is good, 
        For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.”
   Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

2. The repeated frustrating failures to rebuild in 4.4-5.
 4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, 5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. 

3. The resignation to defeat in 4:25.
24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. 

TS: After the people were thoroughly beaten down, what was used to revive the work?

1 Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
The date is significant. During his first two years, Darius fought numerous battles against nine rebels, as recounted in his famous Behistun Inscription. Only after the stabilization of the Persian Empire could efforts to rebuild the temple be permitted.  —Edwin Yamauchi in THE EXPOSITOR'S BIBLE COMMENTARY
The extent to which this may have influenced the prophets is debated.   —H.G.M. Williamson in Word  Biblical Commentary Vol. 16
Haggai's ministry began August 29, 520 b.c. (Hag. 1:1), and the work on the Temple was commenced three weeks later on September 20, 520 b.c. 
a) Haggai  sought to reorient their priorities.
- Meaning: festive 
Scarcely anything is known of his personal history. 
He began his ministry about sixteen years after the Return. 
He helped induce them to take advantage of the favorable opportunity that had arisen in a change in the policy of the Persian government. 

1. Consider your ways.
& Haggai 1.1-3
1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, 2 “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.”’”
3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” 5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!  
also in 1.7 and "consider" in 2.15 & 18

2. Be strong and work
& Haggai 2.4-5
4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the LORD; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the LORD of hosts. 5 ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ 

b) Zechariah sought to encourage them for the work.
He describes himself (1:1) as "the son of Berechiah." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the son of Iddo," who was properly his grandfather. 
His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius (B.C. 520), about sixteen years after the return of the first company from exile. He was contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).

     His book consists of three distinct parts: 
(1) It begins with a preface (1:1-6), which recalls the nation's past history, for the purpose of presenting a solemn warning to the present generation. 
Then follows a series of eight visions (1:7-6:8), succeeding one another in one night, which may be regarded as a symbolical history of Israel, intended to furnish consolation to the returned exiles and stir up hope in their minds. 
(2)     Chapters 7 and 8, delivered two years later, are an answer to the question whether the days of mourning for the destruction of the city should be any longer kept, and an encouraging address to the people, assuring them of God's presence and blessing.
 (3)      The third part of the book (ch. 9-14) bears no date. It is probable that a considerable interval separates it from the first part. It consists of two burdens.
    The first burden (ch. 9-11) gives an outline of the course of God's providential dealings with his people down to the time of the Advent.
     The second burden (ch. 12-14) points out the glories that await Israel in “the latter day”, the final conflict and triumph of God's kingdom.

Zechariah had a more visionary forward-looking message.

 1. Do not be like your fathers… 1.4
In light of the recent Babylonian captivity, this would have been a strong warning. 
& Chapter 1
1 In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, 2 “The LORD has been very angry with your fathers. 3 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the LORD of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. 4 “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.”’ But they did not hear nor heed Me,” says the LORD.

 2. His hands shall also finish it…4.9
& Chapter 4  Vision of the lamp stand and olive trees
 1 Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said to me, “What do you see?”
So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. 3 Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” 4 So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?” 
5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?”
   And I said, “No, my lord.”
6 So he answered and said to me: 
      “ This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 
      ‘ Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ 
      Says the LORD of hosts. 
       7 ‘ Who are you, O great mountain? 
      Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! 
      And he shall bring forth the capstone 
      With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” 
8 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 
       9 “ The hands of Zerubbabel 
      Have laid the foundation of this temple;
      His hands shall also finish it.
      Then you will know 
      That the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. 
       10 For who has despised the day of small things? 
      For these seven rejoice to see 
      The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. 
      They are the eyes of the LORD, 
      Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” 
We should not miss the gentle reminder of mans' accountability and heaven's help in the expression, "God … who was over them", at the end of verse 1.   —Derik Kidner in EZRA AND NEHEMIAH  -  TOTC

God speaks with His Word.
Let His Word 
reorient your priorities 
and encourage you to…
 arise and obey Him.

TS: Next we see their response to the preaching of God's Word for them.

2 So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.

1.  The Leaders
a.) Zerubbabel
Clearly addressed as the leader by both Haggai and Zechariah
Zerubbabel was a grandson of King Jehoiachin and therefore the legitimate heir of the Davidic throne.  Matt. 1:11-13
Zerubbabel  and  Sheshbazzar  (vrs. 1.8; 5.14) may possibly have been the same person and that the name Sheshbazzar was used by the Persian court. 
It could be, however, that Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah, was governor under Cyrus and that Zerubbabel was governor under Darius. —-ISBE

b)  Jeshua /Joshua
The son of Jozadak, and high priest of the Jews under Zerubbabel (Neh. 7:7; 12:1, 7, 10, 26); 
Addressed along with Zerubbabel as a leader in Haggai.  He was also the subject of Zechariah's third vision. 
Called Joshua (Hag. 1:1, 12; 2:2, 4; Zech. 3:1, 3, 6, 8, 9).

2.  They Arose
quwm (Aramaic) 
The word can speak of being stirred to action.
Psalm 10:12 
Arise, O LORD!
         O God, lift up Your hand! 
         Do not forget the humble.

Jeremiah 1:17 
“ Therefore prepare yourself and arise, 
      And speak to them all that I command you. 
      Do not be dismayed before their faces, 
      Lest I dismay you before them. 

Jonah 1:2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

Ezra 10:4 "Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.”   Ezra to certain Jews

Neh 10.19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” 
20 So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

Haggai 1
4 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius. 

3. goes on diligently and prospers
It is obvious from these description that the leaders and people were working hard on the project.
diligently  St#H629  ocparna  s·par·nä'   thoroughly, eagerly, diligently
YLT—done speedily; KJV—goeth fast; 
NASB—with great care; 
NKJV, ESV—diligently; NIV—with diligence; 
NLT—with great energy

prospers  St#H6744 tsĕlach (Aramaic)  tsel·akh'  prosperous, successful
YLT—prospering; KJV—prospereth; NKJV, ESV—prospers; 
NASB—succeeding; NLT—success
NIV—making rapid progress; 

TS; All this progress got the attention of  government officials.

3 At the same time Tattenai the governor of the region beyond the River and Shethar-Boznai and their companions came to them and spoke thus to them: “Who has commanded you to build this temple and finish this wall?” 4 Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building. 5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius. 

a) the eyes of Darius 5.3

1. Tattenai - tat'-e-ni  
A Persian governor
during the reign of Darius I and Zerubbabel (Ezra 5:3,6; 6:6,13). 
What are the details of "the province beyond the river"?  a geographical term referring to southern Syria and Palestine — 

2. Shethar-Boznai -    The name of an  official mentioned with Tattenai , possibly a secretary or investigator of some kind.
Horace J. Wolf in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

3. "These were known popularly as "the king's eye," and must have been regarded as somewhat threatening and sinister.  The Biblical author knows, however of One whose care overrides even their potential menace."  —H.G.M. Williamson in WORD BIBLICAL COMMENTARY

b) the “eye of God”  5.4
In contrast to "the hand of the Lord" in 7.6 & 26 when Ezra is returning.
We often think of God watching us in the sense of  traffic police waiting to get us.
Here and in other passages it speaks of God's watchful care.

Psalm 33
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
         On those who hope in His mercy,
 19 To deliver their soul from death,
         And to keep them alive in famine.  
Psalm 34
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
         And His ears are open to their cry.
 16 The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
         To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.  
Job 36:7
6 He does not preserve the life of the wicked,
      But gives justice to the oppressed.
 7 He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous;
      But they are on the throne with kings, 
      For He has seated them forever, 
      And they are exalted.

& c) A good confession  5.11, 12, &16

5.11 Humility
We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth...  
They were no longer preoccupied with their own houses and business, but were eagerly engaged the Lord's work for them.  We are all servants, we only get to choose our master.

5.12  Confession
...our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath...
Thee are no excuses here.  The exile had happened as a result of generation of disobedience to God.  Yet the exiles are not blaming their forefathers in order to exonerate themselves. Rather the tone of their words show that they have taken to heart the rebuke of Haggai and include themselves in the punishment.  t he recognition of guilt is the first step in their rediscovery of their identity as the people of God.  —J.G. McConville in EZRA, NEHEMIAH, ESTHER  -  THE DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES 

5.16  Focus is not finished.
The temple foundation had sat there neglected for 14 years as a disgrace and reminder of their discouragement and skewed priorities.  It was eventually ignored and "invisible."  Zechariah's prophecy had given them a vision for finishing it so that it could function as the center of worship.

God wants us to 
arise and obey His commands.
How is God stirring you?
Will you arise and obey?

Revive Us Again
Words: William P. Mackay, 1863.
Music: John J. Husband, 1815

We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died,
And is now gone above.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.

We praise Thee, O God!
For Thy Spirit of light,
Who hath shown us our Savior,
And scattered our night.

All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins,
And hath cleansed every stain.

All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast brought us, and sought us,
And guided our ways.

Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.

     INTRO.: A song that both asks God to revive His people and joyfully praises Him for His blessings is "Revive Us Again" (#37 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #17 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by William Paton Mackay, who was born at Montrose, Scotland, on May 13, 1839. Educated at the University of Edinburgh, he was engaged in practicing medicine for a number of years. In addition to being a physician, he also enjoyed writing hymns. Producing this one, beginning, "We praise Thee, O God," in 1863, he revised to its present form it four years later.
     In 1868, Mackay, feeling a call to the ministry, abandoned his medical practice and became a minister with the Prospect St. Presbyterian Church in Hull, Scotland. Seventeen of his hymns were published in W. Reid's 1872 Praise Book. Three years later, this one was also published under the heading, "O Lord, revive Thy work," in the 1875 Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs compiled by Philip P. Bliss and Ira D. Sankey.
     The tune (Thine the Glory) had been composed by an English-born musician who migrated to Philadelphia, PA, John Jenkins Husband (1760-1825). It first appeared early in the nineteenth century, around 1815 to 1820, and seems to have been used with some other song, perhaps a secular ballad. In Bliss and Sankey's 1858 book, it was originally used with "Rejoice and Be Glad" by Horatius Bonar. Mackay's text was given as an alternate, but in later editions Bonar's hymn was discarded and Mackay's words became inseparably wedded to this music. Mackay died from an accident at Portree, Soctland, on Aug. 22, 1885. 

Bruce Wilkninson and Kenneth Boa in TALK THRU THE OLD TESTAMENT
Thomas L. Constable in NOTES ON EZRA 2009 EDITION
Matthews, Victor Harold ; Chavalas, Mark W. ; Walton, John H.: THE IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND COMMENTARY : OLD TESTAMENT. 

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