Danger: God's People at Work
While traveling to the hospital the other day, I came upon a very familiar sight, men working on the roads. As I neared the site, being in somewhat of a hurry, my main concern was getting to the hospital on time, before the patient went into surgery. Being seemingly unconcerned, or unaware of much else around me, for some reason my attention was seized, and something caught my eye. I had seen it, probably hundreds of times before, however, this time, it just appeared to jump out at me. What I saw was a large, orange, diamond-shaped sign, which read: DANGER: MEN AT WORK! As I meditated on that sign, I immediately thought of how this ought to be the sign over the body of believers today, only this sign ought to read: DANGER: GOD'S PEOPLE AT WORK!
Most of you know the setting of the book of Ezra. The Babylonians had began their conquest of Jerusalem in 606 BC, and had finally destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC However, in 538 BC, Cyrus issued a proclamation allowing the Jews to return to their land and rebuild their temple, and nearly 50,000 returned under the leadership of Zerubbael.
The primary architect of Israel's new identity was Ezra, the priest, the "ready scribe of the law of Moses."(7:6) As a scribe, his primary task was the study and exposition of the law. Through the work of Ezra, Israel had a job to do, and although they faced times of trial, testing, and tribulation, the Lord saw them through. In spite of many obstacles, Israel marched with work to do, and no doubt it may have read at the construction of the temple: DANGER: GOD'S PEOPLE AT WORK!
Briefly, I want you to notice three things that made their work so effective, and want enabled them through much adversity to finally achieve their goal. We see the:
I. UNIFICATION DESCRIBED (v. 1)
In this verse, we see one of the primary reasons that Israel was able to conquer all their obstacles. For ...
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