Suffering and Deliverance (Part 34) - Babylonian Captivity; EzraSubmitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, February 20, 2022.
27. Judah from Babylonian captivity A. Jerusalem was destroyed, and the people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon because of their sin and rebellion against God (2Ch 36:14-20). B. They spent 70 years in Babylon (2Ch 36:21). C. After the 70 years were fulfilled, the LORD put it into the heart of Cyrus the king of the Medo-Persian empire to issue a decree that the Jews would return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and the temple (2Ch 36:22-23; Isa 44:28). D. They spent a long time mourning the loss of their city and country while in Babylon (Psa 137:1-9). E. They rejoiced greatly when they were allowed to return (Psa 126:1-6). F. There are some lessons we can learn from this. i. There are severe and long-lasting consequences for sin. ii. Judgment for sin may last for one's entire life. iii. The punishment for spiritual crimes such as idolatry and false religion is often political oppression and physical suffering. iv. Previous generations sometimes escape the judgment of God in this life while future generations suffer for their folly. v. The LORD always keeps His promises. vi. The LORD can use secular leaders to deliver His people from oppression and bondage. vii. Suffering is only temporary for God's children (Psa 30:5). 28. Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Jews when they were rebuilding Jerusalem A. When the Jews returned to Jerusalem in the days of Ezra to rebuild the city and temple they faced many challenges. i. Their adversaries tried to hinder their rebuilding effort by attempting to join them and work against them from the inside (Ezr 4:1-2). a. A classic tactic of Satan is to infiltrate a church and destroy it from within (Act 20:29-30). b. Don't be ignorant of his devices (2Co 2:11). ii. Their leaders did not fall for that deception and declined their offer (Ezr 4:3). iii. Their enemies then hired lawyers to frustrate their purpose and trouble them in building (Ezr 4:4-6). a. They lobbied Artaxerxes king of Persia and told him that Jerusalem was a rebellious city and if it was rebuilt the Jews would not pay their taxes to the Persian empire (Ezr 4:11-16). b. The king issued an order for the Jews to cease rebuilding the city and temple (Ezr 4:17-24). iv. After king Darius came to power, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah goaded the people to begin rebuilding the temple again (Ezr 5:1). a. Zerubbabel the governor and Jeshua the high priest then restarted the rebuilding of the temple (Ezr 5:2). (i) Their adversaries immediately again attempted to stop the rebuilding by questioning them as to who gave them authority to do so (Ezr 5:3-4). (ii) God's eye was upon them and would not allow them to be stopped (Ezra 5:5). b. Their adversaries then wrote a letter to Darius asking him to verify if King Cyrus had indeed given them permission to rebuild the city (Ezr 5:6-17). (i) Darius commanded that the records be searched and the decree of Cyrus was found (Ezr 6:1-5). (ii) Darius then commanded that the Jews be left alone to rebuild the house of God (Ezr 6:6-7). (iii) In addition to that he gave order that money and supplies be given to the Jews to complete the work and also that animals be given them to sacrifice (Ezr 6:8-10). (iv) Darius also decreed that anyone who would try to hinder the rebuilding would be killed (Ezr 6:11-12). (v) The rebuilding of the house of God was then finished (Ezr 6:13-15). c. The LORD put into the heart of king Artaxerxes to give what was necessary to beautify the house of the LORD (Ezr 7:27-28). v. There are some lessons we can learn from this. a. When we try to do the work of the LORD, there will always be adversaries (1Co 16:9). b. Our enemies will try to creep into the church to destroy us from the inside (Gal 2:4; Jud 1:4). c. In order to be delivered from our enemies, it's important to be wise, prudent, and discerning to perceive their wicked intentions. d. Satan will sometimes try to prevent us doing the Lord's work by using lawyers who file lawsuits against us. e. Enemies will lobby the government to pass laws to persecute us and prevent us from serving God. f. True men of God must provoke the brethren to continue serving God in the face of laws which forbid them from doing so. g. God can use rulers in the same government which oppressed us to later issue commands that will deliver us. h. If our work is of God, He will see to it that we prevail.
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