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Sunday: The Calling of Ezra and Nehemiah — 14 Comments

  1. The lesson notes today point to:

    For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. Ezra 7:10 NIV

    as providing a a reason why Ezra was called to the task of rebuilding. But, it is worth reading around because it becomes clear that there are other good reasons as well. I like the verses toward the end of the chapter:

    Praise be to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honour to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favour to me before the king and his advisors and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me. Ezra 7:27,28

    In particular, the bit about gathering leaders to go with him indicates that this effort was not a one-man band. He was smart enough to inspire other leaders to go with him. He was a team player, not a star performer. The work of restoration needed a team of leaders working together. And that is a really special quality.

    In our church life we often seek leaders who are charismatic speakers; someone who can get up the front and deliver a sermon that moves us. Maybe we should look for ministers who speak less and encourage others to lead.

    Rhetorical questions: what characteristics should we seek for leaders/ministers, if we want to rebuild the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Does the church need rebuilding?

    Amen!(41)
    • Thanks Maurice
      The Church today needs rebuilding and I believe God is busy looking for and waiting upon for men full of the Holy Spirit to carry the apostolic mantle.
      But there's a problem.
      Our chosen leaders are somewhat materialistic and smarter for the work.
      And, but who will respond "Lord, here I am. Send me" is oftenly the laymen toiling and individual members.
      The system seems not be ready for service like Ezra or Nehemiah. The system has created an elite class who want to be served and not to save the lost.

      Amen!(6)
      • I have been hearing disquieting news about disputes involving Adventist leadership in some parts of the world Cheelo Mwiingi. That is something we need to keep in our prayers.

        The point needs to be made that our church leadership is a reflection of ourselves. And we need need to be active members to ensure that such disputes are resolved. Jesus saves individuals, not churches, so we need to individually ensure the strength of our relationship with Jesus. Dealing with people is tough. Telling someone they are doing the wrong thing and at the same time being mindful of their salvation is never going to be easy.

        Amen!(9)
  2. Be guided by the Holy Ghost.

    Sometimes it can be very difficult for us to differentiate whether we are being guided by the Holy Ghost to do something when asked or is it just our feelings from within us.
    I believe in the use of our talents it is easy. We know to do a craft, when called upon we just answer the call whether for free or for pay. We get the work done.
    But David had wanted to do a great work for God which he shared with the Prophet, during the night the Lord told the prophet to tell him no, it’s not his job to do that but some one else. How do we know everything we are doing was ordered by God for us to do?
    Unlike Spiritual gifts which allows us to do spiritual things, it’s different.
    I believe spiritual gifts are given to Christians/ followers of Christ to do great work for him. That’s your only qualification. Don’t have to go to school, have a formal education, have a diploma or degree.
    Bible says 1st Apostles. These were unlearned men who turned the world upside down.

    Amen!(22)
  3. Nehemiah is regarded as the wall builder in Jerusalem, and this is the theme that resonates in the book... But his story is not only about building the physical walls of Jerusalem for physical protection, it is also a story of building spiritual walls around the people with the Word of God and thus building up the people as well.

    Leader, fight to keep your priorities straight: God, people, project.

    Amen!(19)
  4. There was a God given desire flamed the hearts of these men and they responded to the working of the Holy Spirit.
    Ezra:
    1) Study the Word of God
    Not just read the bible but understand the principle behind those words
    2) Observe the Word
    Word studied must become part of our life transforming us.
    time meditating on the Word of the Lord.
    3) Teach the word
    He is teaching the Israelites who were in a foreign land about the oracles of God.
    I am sure, he would have been met with opposition from many people.
    Many would have ridiculed him, but that did not stop his dedication and love for the Word of God

    When you allow God to work in your life, your life will become enriched with testimonies of his interventions in your life.
    No king or earthly power will be able shut you off because Christ himself will be with you.

    Amen!(18)
  5. Holy Ghost please guide your church!!!
    Many want to be the Ezras’ and Nehemiahs’ but on their own merits. SDA were known as the people of the book, now many are falling from their post with few to replace them. In certain cultures night meetings are a thing of the pass. Some others are barely holding on with a few members during the night.
    On Sabbath the day is so packed with activities that at the end you are so tired, it feels like if u return from work.
    Like Ezra and Nehemiah who dedicated themselves to studying then teaching the work, we are lacking such dedication. On Sabbath we can’t do everything, we have to sacrifice time during the wk for studying the word as a church.
    Work can’t overcome us so much that we forget to pray and seek him face.
    The churches need to pray for a sacrificial spirit to return to the word as a group. When we begin studying the Holy Ghost will make us like Ezra and Nehemiah.

    Amen!(15)
    • I am not sure that willingness to turn up at an evening meeting should be a measure of our spiritual health. Jesus said:

      By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35

      The question we need to ask ourselves is; how far are we willing to go outside our comfort zone to express love to one another?

      Bible study is not an end in itself. It should catalyse our actions towards one another. If it does not do that, it is hypocritical indulgence.

      Amen!(25)
  6. Guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Hope no one has miss my point. Hebrew 10:25. Paul writing to the Hebrews encouraged them not to forsake the assembling of themselves together as some do. If we, the church pattern ourselves as the 1st church, the church militant now will be the church triumphant and we will be in that number.
    How does a militant church looks? How does the military branch of a government looks?
    In some places/countries evangelism is booming but look at all the factors associated with the success. Many are being baptized in to the church, they Holy Spirit is moving as in the 1st apostles era.

    Many members attend early morning prayer sessions or they gather during the week for prayers to make this a success.
    Some Other churches attend only on Sabbath, how do they look??
    I once attended a church and happened to sit in a meeting. The concern was, the last time they baptized anyone was six yrs ago and the church was not growing.
    I tried calling the Pastor several times during the week about something with no response.

    We were told how the 1st church increased. If I love the Lord I will do anything to please him as well as patterning self as they 1st disciples. I will try to sacrifice time for the new baptized members so they can be taught the scriptures.

    Amen!(6)
  7. Worshiping God in a gathering, Sunday nights was a blessing. In the beginning of the week it was helping the younger generation. Now the the church is closed, Wednesday nights are almost empty benches. Sabbath days is not enough for service. Our generation are now perishing spirituality. Old and young We need a Ezra and Nehemiah today!!

    Amen!(4)
  8. Could we rather suppose that one attends the evening meeting because they love the brothers and sisters? It’s in fellowship and communion where/when opportunity for manifesting the love of God, having been born of God, may arise or may be discovered. It’s in the comfort zone of those born of God.

    Amen!(3)
  9. In answer to the last question in today’s lesson: In what ways have you experienced the reality that God calls you to do for Him things that you love? I wrote: “I love working with children and God allowed me to be a Pathfinder from the age of 10 years until 2010 when my health failed. I led out in children’s church and Vespers for kids, as well as Sabbath school for all ages of children and VBS. We must always remember, our job is to teach and amplify through our behavior, God‘s unfailing love and allow for all, to the children; allowing them to be in the kingdom, and that we be lucky enough to be with them.” Ministry to children is where my talents truly are.

    Amen!(9)
  10. the church is under attack from without and from within. we need men like Ezra and Nehemiah. Each of us needs to seek after the lord. Confess our sins and like Isiah say "hear I am send me". May God bless us all.

    Amen!(0)

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