The text for this lesson is Ezra 1–3; 7:11–28; Nehemiah 2:1–8; 12:27–43
- God used unbelieving kings to restore His exiled people to Jerusalem according to His will. God sent Jesus, the King of kings, to Jerusalem to restore His wayward people to Himself forever.
- Law: God’s just judgment on unbelief and sin is punishment and exile from Him forever.
- Gospel: In mercy and grace, God forgives my sins, reclaims me as His child, and blesses me with all good things for the sake of His Son, Jesus, who will take me to the new Jerusalem, my home in heaven, where there is joy and celebration forever.
- What are the most important aspects of a promise? Does how, when, or if the promise is fulfilled matter?
- Consider God’s promises. What two forms do they take? How do we see God’s promises at work for His people in exile?
- What links to the past and the future are present in Ezra 1 and 2? What significance is present in those links?
- Why was the rebuilding of the temple so significant following the return from exile?
- After the temple was rebuilt, God moved another earthly king, Artaxerxes, to continue the restoration of God’s people. Under him, Ezra, followed shortly thereafter by Nehemiah, led additional returns home. What was Ezra’s purpose? What did Nehemiah do? What blessings are illustrated in the final wave of return from the exile and the rebuilding of the wall?
- How does God’s long-suffering faithfulness to His promise to the exiles demonstrate His ongoing faithfulness to all of His people?
- During the exile, God remained faithful to His promise. He did not leave His people without hope, and He provided for them. How does He do the same for us?