Read for This Week’s Study: Ezra 4:1-5, 2 Cor. 6:14, Ezra 5:1-5, Haggai 1:1-15, Ezra 4:6-24, Nehemiah 4:1-23, Neh. 6:1-13.
Memory Text: “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. Then a written answer was returned concerning this matter” (Ezra 5:5, NKJV).
Ezra 3-6 is structured thematically, covering different historical periods of opposition to the rebuilding of the temple. Recognizing this thematic approach will help clarify the overall message.
Ezra is mentioned for the first time by name in Ezra 7:1. With his arrival in 457 B.C., things changed, and the city of Jerusalem with its wall began to be spasmodically rebuilt. Thirteen years later Nehemiah arrived (sent by Artaxerxes in 444 B.C.), and the building of the wall was finally resumed. Although the opposition was intense, the work was completed in 52 days (Neh. 6:15).
Resistance to the work of God is a prevalent theme in the two books of Ezra and Nehemiah; therefore, it is not surprising that rebuilding the temple and Jerusalem incited opposition and persecution. Wherever we turn in today’s world, the work of the Lord is resisted. Satan tries to make sure that the gospel doesn’t spread quickly, as it threatens his dominion. In Ezra and Nehemiah, how did the Jews handle the opposition?