Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sat 100116 pm Ezra 8 sermon notes

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) Exile Timeline
1. Destruction of  Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar—
605 BC Nebuchadnezzar  takes the Temple treasures and captives (including Daniel)
598 BC  Second conquest of Jerusalem with more captives and treasure taken
586BC Nebuchadnezzar destroys the temple in 
2. Zerubbabel – 539-515BC - Temple Rebuilt - Ezra 1-6
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.
3.   Esther, queen of Ahasuerus Book of Esther
4. Ezra – 458BC - People Reformed – Ezra 7-10
Artaxerxes I - Ezra and Nehemiah returned during his 40+ year reign. 
There is almost 60 years between Zerubbabel and Ezra.
58 years ago was 1951
Harry Truman was president and the 22nd amendment limiting the terms of a president was ratified. North Korea captured Soul, South Korea.
5. Nehemiah – 444-425BC - Wall Built – Nehemiah 1-10
Artaxerxes I - Ezra and Nehemiah returned during his 40+ year reign. 

Theme of the books: 
We need to trust, serve, and obey the sovereign God who keeps His covenant and restores His people.
Chapter summaries
Ch. 1-6 –  Zerubbabel – 539-515 BC
Ch. 7–8 -  Return    559 BC
We should not be discouraged by our vocation, but see it as an opportunity to serve the Lord.
Ch. 9-10— Reform     559 BC
Chapter Seven
We should not be discouraged by our vocation, but see it as an opportunity to serve the Lord.
Ezra the Man  (1-6)   a prepared priest
Summary of the Trip  (7-10)  the hand of our God was upon me
Letter of Artaxerxes   (11-26)  The secular purpose
Ezra's Doxology  (27-28)  Personal praise (moves to first person)

27 Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem, 28 and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. 
So I was encouraged, as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me. 

Big Idea –Outline

I. Record of Returnees
 1 These are the heads of their fathers’ houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of King Artaxerxes: 
 1 Heads  רֹאשׁ Strong's H7218 - ro'sh---- head, top, summit, upper part, chief, total, sum, height, front, beginning
 1 Father’s ( houses)  אָב   Strong's H1 - 'ab  Father as an individual;  head or founder of a household, group, family, or clan
YLT, KJV—xxx; NASB—households; NKJV, ESV—houses; NIV, NLT—family
 1 genealogy  יָחַשׂ   Strong's H3187 - yachas     to reckon genealogically, enroll on a genealogy, enroll, be enrolled            
YLT, KJV, NKJV, ESV, NLT—genealogy (ies); NASB—genealogical enrollment; NIV—registered
2 of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom;
of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; 
of the sons of David, Hattush; 
3 of the sons of Shecaniah, 
of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah;and 
registered with him were one hundred and fifty males; 150
3 registered  same word as translated genealogy in verse 1
YLT—reckoning themselves by genealogy; KJV—reconed by genealogy; NASB—in the genealogical enrollment; 
NKJV, ESV, NIV, NLT—registered

4 of the sons of Pahath-Moab, 
Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah,
and with him two hundred males; 200
5 of the sons of Shechaniah, 
and with him three hundred males; 300 
6 of the sons of Adin, 
Ebed the son of Jonathan,
and with him fifty males; 050
7 of the sons of Elam, 
Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah,
and with him seventy males; 070
8 of the sons of Shephatiah, 
Zebadiah the son of Michael,
and with him eighty males; 080
9 of the sons of Joab, 
Obadiah the son of Jehiel,
and with him two hundred and eighteen males; 218
9 Joab  is part of the Pahath-moab family in Chapter two and by himself here.
10 of the sons of Shelomith,
Ben-Josiphiah ____,
and with him one hundred and sixty males;160
11 of the sons of Bebai, 
Zechariah the son of Bebai,
and with him twenty-eight males; 028
12 of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan,
and with him one hundred and ten males; 110
13 of the last sons of Adonikam, 
whose names are these—Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah
—and with them sixty males; 060
14 also of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud,
and with them seventy males. 070

13 last sons Strong's H314 - 'acharown  1. hinder, latter   2. after, later, following   3. last
ylt—younger sons; kjv, nkjv—last sons; nasb, esv, niv, nlt—xxx;
The meaning here is unclear, but it may indicate that the last of the Adonikam house were joining their brethren, who had gone with Zerubbable in chapter two.

II. Preparations by the River
- First, there was a lack of Levites and Ezra sends 11 men to find Levites to come with them. Only 38 are found, and 220 servants (Nethinim), but at lease this small number join Ezra and those with him. There seems to be a chronic shortage of 'Levites', people who take care of the house and people of God (Numbers 3:7) - may many hear the call today!
- Second, Ezra called for fasting, humiliation and prayer (v.21). Instead of relying on the armed escort offered by the heathen king, Ezra wanted to rely on God and to depend on Him.
You see that we do not have a scribe here (in Ezra) who 'knows it all' and goes to 'sort them out' in Jerusalem. His frame of mind is quite different. The time in prayer at the river Ahava was well spent (v.23).
Finally, Ezra entrusts the silver and gold, the vessels for the house of God, to 12 of the chief priests and gives them instruction to look after these treasures. They do so faithfully. Everything is weighed and numbered and, good to see, when they arrive everything is accounted for, nothing has gone missing. May it be so with the things the Lord entrusted to us, whether material or otherwise (1 Tim. 6:20).    –MICHAEL HARDT IN LESSONS FROM EZRA © BIBLECENTRE.ORG 

A. Lack of Levites
 15 Now I gathered them by the river that flows to Ahava, and we camped there three days. And I looked among the people and the priests, and found none of the sons of Levi there. 
15 river  This may refer to a canal coming from the Euphrates River.
15 Looked  בִּין  Strong's H995 - biyn     2) to understand, know (with the mind)  3) to observe, mark, give heed to, distinguish, consider
KNV—viewed; NKJV—looked;  
YLT—consider; NASB—observed; ESV—reviewed; NIV—checked; 
NLT—went over the lists
15 the sons of Levi 

16 Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, leaders; also for Joiarib and Elnathan, men of understanding. 17 And I gave them a command for Iddo the chief man at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say to Iddo and his brethren the Nethinim at the place Casiphia—that they should bring us servants for the house of our God. 
16 leaders   רֹאשׁ      Strong's H7218 - ro'sh    1) head, top, summit… d) chief, head (of man, city, nation, place, family, priest)
YLT—heads; KJV--chief men; NASB, ESV—leading men; NKJV, NIV, NLT--leaders
16 men of understanding  בִּין   Strong's H995 - biyn   (Hiphil) 1) to understand   2) to cause to understand, give understanding, teach
YLT, KJV, NKJV—men of understanding; ESV—men of insight; NLT—men of discernment
NASB—teachers; NIV—men of learning
an extra two for their diplomatic skill—Kindner, TOTC
16 ministers שָׁרַת       Strong's H8334 - sharath   (Piel) to minister, serve, minister to
YLT—ministrants; KJV, NASB, ESV, NLT—ministers; NKJV—servants; NIV—attendants;
17 the place  For some scholars hammaqom is a clear reference to a sanctuary in the neighborhood of Babylon, in the same manner as the sanctuary of Yahu which existed at Yeb (Elephantine).  …  The usage of maqom [the place] in the later OT literature, howere, points to a sanctuary, possible a kind of synagogue where pupils were instructed in the law.   --NICOT

18 Then, by the good hand of our God upon us, they brought us a man of understanding, 
of the sons of Mahli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, 
namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brothers, eighteen men; 
19and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty men; 
20 also of the Nethinim, whom David and the leaders had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinim.
All of them were designated by name. 
17 Nethinim  Socially they were a caste of mixed origins and were inferior to the Levites in status.  But God’s Spirit had motivated them to respond in larger numbers than the Levites.  --Expositors
While a small number of Levites had gone up with Zerubbabel, none had joined Ezra. Only two priests were present, Gershon, son of Phinehas, and Daniel, son of Ithamar. What indifference this reveals! They had settled down in the enemy's land and were satisfied to remain there. They were minding earthly things, and the things of God were forgotten by them. Still they were Levites in their holy calling. It is so today with many who are no doubt saved, but they are worldly-minded, and have but little desire to live in the separation demanded by Him from His people. Ezra was not willing to leave the Levites behind, knowing how absolutely necessary they were for the house of God. How Ezra must have looked to God! Then he acted, and through the good hand of God, which he once more acknowledged, a number of Levites and Nethinim joined the party.   –Arno  Clement Gaebele in  THE ANNOTATED BIBLE  “THE BOOK OF EZRA” 

Here, not a single Levite presents himself.  They remain in the cities of the nations, occupied with their own personal interests, without any thought of going up with their brothers to serve in the house of God.  Ezra is obliged to send them a special embassy of chief men and men of understanding, to induce them to join their brothers.   --H. L. Rossier in THE BOOK OF EZRA © BIBLECENTRE.ORG

In spite of everything, we find this expression: "The good hand of our God [was] upon us" (v. 18), the only resource which Ezra could count on.  And if the help granted to them was insufficient, revealing the great areas of lack caused by the people's ruin, at least there was some help, and the Lord did not abandon His own. --H. L. Rossier in THE BOOK OF EZRA © BIBLECENTRE.ORG

We should be quick to join the Lord's work.
The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 
Matthew 9.37-38
1 Peter 2
 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Why is there a scarcity of  laborers for the harvest today?
Matthew 9
37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

B. Fasting and Prayer for Protection
21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.

21 fast צוֺם Strong's H6685 – tsowm  

21 humble    Strong's H6031 - `anah   (Hiphil) to afflict  
YLT, KJV—afflict; NASB, NKJV, ESV, NIV, NLT—humble

the right way יָשָׁר Strong's H3477 – yashar    straight, level, unobsructied
YLT, KNV, NKJV—right way;  NASB, EXV, NIV, NLT—safe journey

21 little ones  Children (tap as in Deut. 1:39) designates those younger than twenty, with stress on the younger ages.  

22 ashamed בּוּשׁ  Strong's H954 – buwsh 
Nehemiah would later accept an armed escort as God’s provision (Neh. 2.9).

23 entreated בָּקַשׁ  
Strong's H1245 – baqash  to seek;  to ask, request                  
YLT—seek; KJV—besought; NASB—sought
ESV—implored; NIV—petitioned; 
NLT--earnestly prayed

23 answered עָתַר  Strong's H6279 - `athar   to hear and answer     

And the question may well arise whether in this day our service for God is not often too easily taken up; whether it would not conduce to spiritual power and efficacy if, before we embarked upon anything for God, we were more frequently found in this attitude of Ezra and his companions. Far be it from us to insinuate for one moment that the Lord's servants do not thus seek His face before commencing their service. Our question concerns rather collective waiting upon God, with fasting, before work is entered upon in which the saints at large have a common interest. It was understood in the early Church; for we read, "There were in the Church that was at Antioch prophets. . . . As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me now Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." (Acts 13: 1, 2.) If there were but a revival of such a practice in the power of the Holy Ghost (for to imitate it without the power would be worse than useless), far larger results from service in teaching and ministry might be confidently anticipated.  –E. Dennett in THE BOOK OF EZRA (CHAPTERS 7-10)

(Emphasize the importance of prayer and seeking the Lord.)

C. Treasures entrusted to the Priest
24 And I separated twelve of the leaders of the priests—Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them— 25 and weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the articles, the offering for the house of our God which the king and his counselors and his princes, and all Israel who were present, had offered.
 26 I weighed into their hand 
six hundred and fifty talents of silver,     [24.5 tons]
silver articles weighing one hundred talents, [  3¾ ton ]       
one hundred talents of gold,       [ 3¾ ton ]     
27 twenty gold basins worth a thousand drachmas, and
two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold. 
26 talents כִּכָּר Strong's H3603 – kikkar   (root: round) a round weight, talent (of gold, silver, bronze, iron)    “A talent of silver (2 Kings 5:22) contained 3,000 shekels (Ex. 38:25,26) [or 95ish pounds]. A talent of gold (Ex. 25:39) was double the weight of a talent of silver (2 Sam. 12:30).”  --WebEncyclopedia

27 drachmas אֲדַרְכּוֺן Strong's H150 - 'adarkon   According to Myers (Ezra-Nehemiah p. 67), if this is the Persian gold dric, then 1,000 darics would weigh about eighteen and a half pounds; if the silver daric, about twelve and a fifth pounds.  –Expositors

28 And I said to them, “You are holy to the LORD; the articles are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD God of your fathers. 29 Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders of the priests and the Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the LORD.” 30 So the priests and the Levites received the silver and the gold and the articles by weight, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God. 

28 holy קֹדֶשׁ Strong's H6944 – qodesh     apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness

28 freewill offering נְדָבָה Strong's H5071 – nĕdabah  voluntariness, free-will offering

29 watch שָׁקַד Strong's H8245 – shaqad  to keep watch of, be wakeful over
YLT, KJV, NASB, NKJV—watch; ESV, NIV, NLT—guard

29 keep שָׁמַר  Strong's H8104 – shamar  to keep, have charge of, guard
YLT, KJV, NASB, NKJV, ESV—keep; NIV—carefully; YLT--xxx

Teaching: What is holiness.  
Definition: God is exalted* and sinless pure.   *in the sense that He is separate from and above everything else
Key verses: Psalm 24:3-4a “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” 
Explanation: This verse shows the two parts of God’s holiness.  He is far above us and He is without any sin. The part that talks about “ascending into the hill of the Lord” emphasizes that God is above and beyond us.  The part that talks about “clean hands and a pure heart” shows that God cannot sin or be around sin.
Principle of first mention.
Exodus 3:5
1    Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.           3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4    So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” 
And he said, “Here I am.” 
5    Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
In our passage, God appears to Moses in a flaming bush that isn’t burning up. Moses is curious. He wants a closer look. But God says to him, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (verse 5). And Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God (verse 6). Later in his life, this same Moses spoke intimately with God, as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). So God is not absolutely unapproachable. But at this point in his life Moses is unprepared for God. He’s tramping into God’s presence with his dirty shoes and his dirty life and his dirty heart. So God tells him, “Take off your sandals. Don’t bring that dirt and muck into my presence. I am here. You’re on holy ground.”
So what does “holy” mean? We tend to move in our thinking from the word “holy” immediately to the idea “morally pure.” But here in our passage the word holy cannot mean “morally pure.” Moral categories only make sense with personal beings – God, angels and man – but not with a plot of ground. “Holy ground,” therefore, cannot mean “moral ground.” What does it mean? It means that this place was, as it were, roped off from all ordinary use. So Moses had to accommodate himself to God’s presence revealed in this place by taking off his sandals.   --------------Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., Exodus 3:1-6 and the Holiness of God
Leviticus 11:44-45
44 For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 45 For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 
Leviticus 19    Moral and Ceremonial Laws
 1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.
1 Peter 1
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
Principle: We and all we do should be separated to the LORD.  Are you wholly separated to the Lord?

29 Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders…
What a reminder for every believer today! We are entrusted with the truth of the Word of God, and should take to heart what Paul writes to Timothy, "O Timothy!  Guard what was committed to your trust" (1 Tim. 6:20).Just as the priests were required to give account in Jerusalem of all that was committed to their trust, so we shall give account at the judgment seat of Christ of the way we handled the word of God committed to us.   – L. M. Grant in THE BOOK OF EZRA
Application: Guard what was committed to your trust 1 Timothy 6
20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.  Grace be with you. Amen. 

III. The Return to Jerusalem
A. Safe arrival  (31-32)    …the hand of our God was upon us…
31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. 32 So we came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days. 
31 delivered  נָצַל  Strong's H5337 – natsal  to deliver (from enemies or troubles or death)

33 Now on the fourth day the silver and the gold and the articles were weighed in the house of our God by the hand of 
Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, 
and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; 
with them were the Levites, 
Jozabad the son of Jeshua and 
Noadiah the son of Binnui,
 34 with the number and weight of everything. All the weight was written down at that time.  
32 Nehemiah also “rested three days” after his arrival… (Neh. 2:11).   –Expositors 

35 The children of those who had been carried away captive, who had come from the captivity, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel:
twelve bulls for all Israel, 
ninety-six rams,     (8 per tribe)
seventy-seven lambs, and        
twelve male goats as a sin offering. 
All this was a burnt offering to the LORD.  
35 SEVENTY-SEVEN  “We know … from Ugaritic literature that that seventy and seventy-seven were used as a literary device to denote a fairly large number (for seventy-seven cf. UT, 75:II:49). There s obvious merit, therefore, in the view of some scholars that seventy-seven must be regarded as symbolic and should not be changed.”  --NICOT  

These offerings had a view toward repentance from sins and desire to be purged from the guilt of sinful acts.   —THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE
PAU: Have you accepted Christ's sacrifice for you?
1John 1
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
D. Informing provincial officials
36 And they delivered the king’s orders to the king’s satraps and the governors in the region beyond the River. So they gave support to the people and the house of God.


Bruce Wilkinson 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. 
–E Dennett in THE BOOK OF EZRA (CHAPTERS 7-10)

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