The book of Ezra focuses on rebuilding the Temple of God in Jerusalem whereas the book of Nehemiah focuses on rebuilding the broken wall of Jerusalem. Both these books are very inspiring as we see how our Jewish counterparts in the period between 538 B.C.-432 B.C. struggled to rebuild these structures and actually successfully completed God's work after overcoming so many obstacles in their path.
These books will definitely give insights in our lives today how to rebuild our own broken spiritual lives, how to rebuild our broken ministries, how to get united in our purpose in restoring God's word in our lives and in the lives of so many people around us and we can learn many leadership lessons.
1. Chosen heart
1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:
2 "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.
3 Anyone of his people among you--may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.
4 And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'"
5 Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites--everyone whose heart God had moved--prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
Here we see God really wanted to see the Temple in Jerusalem built. So God moved the hearts of the King and the families alike. They were chosen by God to do his will. We are disciples of Jesus, chosen by God to fulfill his mission to reach every soul with the gospel.
Remember how God reached out to you? What were the events that led you to finally become a disciple? How was God molding you and preparing you through the years to make you a disciple? How easy or difficult was it for you to make that decision? What were something difficult for you to give-up to make the decision? How do you feel now after becoming a disciple? Are you happy or struggling? Do you still believe God moved your heart to make you a disciple? What would you be doing now if you were not a disciple? How has your life changed since you became a disciple? Do you focus more on the good things that has happened to you since becoming a disciple or the bad things?
There are some questions we have to ponder over. Somehow we must be convinced that God's hand was definitely behind us in becoming disciples. We are CHOSEN!
2. Kingdom heart
Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites--everyone whose heart God had moved--prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites - everyone whose heart God had moved - prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem..
The exiles were willing to leave Babylon and move to Jerusalem to fulfill the mission. For that they had to make many sacrifices. They were already well settled in Babylon with their families to many years. For them to move to Jerusalem was a big change and a difficult one. They did not know what was in store for them back in Jerusalem, how and where they were going to settle. It was a challenging decision. But it is definitely inspiring and convicting to see they were all very eager to go back to Build the temple of God. They had a heart for God. They had a Kingdom heart!
These are some questions you have to wrestle with to have kingdom heart.
- Are you willing to move for God?
- Are you willing to serve God being in the Full-time ministry?
- Are you willing to go on mission team?
- Are you willing to go to another church that needs help and go there and find a new job and help build the kingdom of God?
- Are you willing to move places in your own city to help out start new ministries or existing ministries?
- Are you available for the Kingdom? Or do you resist the call? Or you think of excuses?
- Are you willing to travel long distances to do ministry work?
- Are you willing to be committed to church even when there is no transportation provided?
- Are you willing to sacrifice personal money to save souls?
All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.
Lot of people assisted in the work by sacrificing their personal belongings and giving freewill offerings. Freewill offerings are made out of a free will than out of compulsion.
- Do you give your contributions out of a freewill?
- Did you give last years Special Contribution?
- We should be willing to do whatever it takes to build God's Kingdom.
68 When they arrived at the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site.
69 According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.
Here again we see people giving freewill offerings. They gave according to their ability. What is not acceptable is giving Rs.0[Zero] as contribution. We can do better than that. Amen!
They collected 500kg gold and 3000tons[1 ton = 1000 kg] of silver for the building of the temple of God!
36 The priests: the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family of Jeshua) 973
37 of Immer 1,052
38 of Pashhur 1,247
39 of Harim 1,017
The total number of priests who returned were 4289 and the total number of people in the whole company was 42,360[Ezra 2:64]. That means they were approximately 1 priest for every 10 person in the whole company.
More the leaders the more help God's people can receive. There should be a tremendous eagerness in us to serve God's people. We got to be available to help out in discipling. What is discipling? It is simply teaching and sharing with other disciples whatever you know about life and Bible.
- Are you available to help out in discipling?
- Are you available to meet disciples who are sick and who missed meetings?
- Are you available to serve?
In short having a kingdom heart means we are willing to go anywhere, do anything and give-up everything.