Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ezra-Why We Have Failed

By Mary Vee
Ezra 5 and Haggai 1

From Ezra's Journal



Photo Courtesy The Prophet Haggai
My name is Ezra. I am with the Hebrews who chose to return to Jerusalem after the captivity. King Cyrus gave us permission to return home and rebuild the temple for the Lord. We should be happy, but aren't.

You can read in the last stories how time has passed and the temple has not been built. King Cyrus and his son have died. 

Evil men came to Jerusalem and watched the work on the temple. They didn't want us to succeed. They wrote to the king and received permission to make us stop the work.

In truth, many of the Jews in Jerusalem didn't mind. Their goal was to prosper in their homeland. Plant crops, build businesses, and great homes. Yet, no matter how hard they tried something went wrong. Unwilling to give up, the men continued to plant and care for their crops. They cared for their animals and maintained their homes. Still none of them succeeded in becoming prosperous.  

Droughts and famine came. Sickness followed. 

The men pushed forward, not understanding the problem.

One day the prophets Haggai and Zechariah came to Jerusalem with a message from God. Haggai was older, he had seen the temple before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it. Zechariah was younger. He was born in Babylon but had trained with the priests and had heard about the great temple in Jerusalem.

Darius, a relative of Cyrus, was now the king of Persia where many of the Jewish captives still lived. Darius had been on the throne for two years when Haggai delivered God's message to the Jews in Jerusalem. 

He said, "You Jews in Jerusalem say the time has not yet come for the Lord's house to be built. But God says, 'Is it a time for you to be living in your paneled houses while the temple remains a ruin?

"Give careful thought to your ways. You've planted but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are never warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a wallet with holes.

"You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. Why? because of my temple which remains a ruin while each of you is busy with your own house."

Come back next time to see what happened.

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1.  What prophets did God send with a message?
2.  What did the people in Jerusalem want?
3.  What were they sent to do?
4.  What were they doing wrong?
5.  How can they fix the problem?

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