- The task. It was time for the temple at Jerusalem to be rebuilt. We aren’t told this, but do you think Ezra and Nehemiah had special training for the work God assigned them to do? Or did God simply bestow on them the skills they needed? What were their spiritual responsibilities? Do you think every church involved in building or expanding of updating a church structure should establish a religious program to supplement the fundraising and physical work involved?
- The calling of Ezra and Nehemiah. Isn’t it interesting that Ezra had determined for years to follow God and do whatever he was called to do for Him. The account in Ezra 7 paints a picture of a follower of God eager to do whatever he could. What about Nehemiah? Disappointed that all work on the temple in Jerusalem had come to a halt, what was his heartfelt response? Why do you think he mentioned his role as a cupbearer in his plea to God?
- Prophetic timing. How was the decree to restore the holy temple associated with the 2300-day prophecy that is so embedded in our Seventh-day Adventist thinking? What was the double significance of the year 457 BC? What significant events occurred at the end of the 70 weeks in this prophecy? Does it humble you to see God’s hand working in the affairs of man from the beginning of 2300 days and onward? How does the timing of the ministry of Jesus fit in with this prophecy?
- God’s election. In what sense was God elected to an earthly role? How can you explain to someone that predestination is God’s way of opening the doors to our transformation into a being worthy of salvation. Based on your reading of Romans 9, do you believe that God has chosen you to serve Him? Does He have specific tasks for you to fulfill? Doesn’t predestination mean you are chosen for salvation? It is possible to opt out of that choice? How?
- Our responsibility. Do you and I ever hunt for excuses not to do what God has opened up for us to do for Him? What degree of happiness and fulfillment can we experience when we give ourselves totally to God the almighty? Do you ever catch yourself making excuses for holding back when God directs you to follow Him? What can we do when those excuses seem to prevail?