St. Irenaeus Ministries
Scripture Studies brought to you by the St. Irenaeus Center.
St. Irenaeus Ministries - a center of orthodox Catholic mission and renewal in Rochester, NY

There are many lessons to take from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The story is told in such a way as to mirror the Exodus and the settlement of Israel. This is a restoration of the people of God, and if the people are to serve as an example of God's great deeds, the people must be seen as a blessing and as a witness, and the people cannot be that unless they are a people apart. This necessarily means that this will not be an easy life, but rather will result in persecution.

If the people are to have right relationship with God, they must also exercise right worship. This worship requires being freed from bondage by God's salvation, accepting God's law in your heart, and having a way to be in God's presence. The priesthood is essential to this. Sacrifice and atonement for sin is an essential part of worship, as well. Erecting an altar was the first thing that Moses instructed the people to do when they entered the land. The people were also instructed in the law, which was important for all the people who were capable of understanding to know.

The Emmanuel principle is important, that is, it is important to make a place for God with us, as the temple and specifically the tabernacle. It is all the more immanent with Jesus Christ, God incarnate.

Direct download: EzraNehemiah15.mp3
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Israel gave a portion to the temple, but the high priest Eliashib gave space in the temple for the donations to Tobiah, who was forbidden to be in the assembly of God because he was an Ammonite.  Nehemiah threw Tobiah's things out of the temple and likewise shut down the merchants who sold goods to the Jews on the Sabbath.

Direct download: EzraNehemiah14.mp3
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After the city is protected by the walls and the people and the city are blessed, Jerusalem must be repopulated to maintain a civilization to support the temple. Some volunteer to live there, but many are chosen by lottery.

Direct download: EzraNehemiah13.mp3
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After the people had heard the law, they confessed their sins and worshipped God. Ezra traces the history of God's people, from His mighty deliverance from Egypt through the presumptuous sins of the people to the establishment of the land of Israel.  The people came into the land but turned away again and were sent into exile. God brought them back, and the people are now rededicating themselves to the God who has never wavered from the covenant that the people so often have abandoned.

Direct download: EzraNehemiah12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT