Christian Fellowship Church -900 Starkey Road, Largo FL. 33771.
Oct.18-2020 Teacher: Mary Mayko.
“RETURN FROM EXILE”
“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of earth and He has appointed me to build Him a temple in Jerusalem in Judah.”
God is always busy working out His plan for the world, the nations, and His people! Isaiah and Jeremiah both had said in prophesy that although Gods’ people would be exiled to Babylon, He also promised that after seventy years He would restore them back to Jerusalem! Our LORD often uses people we would not normally think of His agents to be a big part of His redeeming plan for our lives! Many people who are definitely in the center of Gods’ Will and work will find themselves facing problems or opposition and wonder if they have offended Him in some way! They may fail to recognize most ministries and faithful servants have to endure opposition and hard things in life!
Ezra 1-6: Such was the case with the return of the Jews to Jerusalem! The kings of Persia, Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes were all involved with the Jews return to Jerusalem! In 538 B.C. under King Cyrus’ Decree, Zebbubbabel returned to Jerusalem with many who had gone into exile as young people, some Levites and priests were included. In the first Exile 605 B.C. the Royals (Judah) and the wise men, which included Daniel and the three Hebrew children and the wealthy were taken! The Decree said they were permitted to go and instructed by the king to build a temple for their LORD there! Because of so much conflict, threats and opposition, it took twenty years to finally complete the work on the temple in 516 B.C! King Darius re-enforced Cyrus Decree. Zerubbabel was from both the Royal House of David as well as a priest. God used him to restore proper worship to the LORD God once again!
Ezra 7-10: There were three exiles from Judah/ Jerusalem to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar. The first exiled people were taken in 605 B.C. The second exile took many priests and Levites, including Ezekiel in 597 B.C. The last exile occurred in 586 B.C. and all the palace and temple treasures that remained were taken. The temple and city walls were completely destroyed! The return in 458 B.C. was led by Ezra, a Levite Scribe and priest who was also a member of David’s bloodline. Ezra had the support of King Artaxerxes who upheld the Decree of King Cyrus. He gave the temple treasures to Ezra to help restore the temple.
Ezra established the Word of God with the people who rebuilt the temple. They needed to know Gods’ Word and how to handle the sacred trust given to them! Ezra was appalled to learn some Levites divorced their Jewish wives and taken pagan wives! Moses’ Law strictly forbid such among the priests and Levites! Ezra’s concern was to preserve teaching the Word and ways of the LORD! (We cannot assume people will just know God’s Word and ways! They learn from teaching, preaching, reading the Bible and observing mature believers!
Ezra had to deal with leading the people in confessions of their sinful life styles and instruction of worship of Holy God! Many had married pagan wives and mingled idol worship and holy offerings on the LORDS’ altar! Ezra demanded they divorce their pagan wives. They obeyed with broken hearts, arranging for the welfare of their ex-wives and promising to live holy before the LORD! The Book of Ezra recorded the Tribes of Levites and Judah, as proof of their right to serve in the House of the LORD! Ezra was faithful to the work and Word in the face of many conflicts and oppositions!
Nehemiah 1-3: During the ministry of Ezra and Nehemiah, two prophets of the LORD, Haggai and Zechariah often encouraged the people! Any work of the LORD needs the support of others in their ministry or church! In the Kings’ Court Nehemiah received a heart breaking report from his relative about the horrible conditions in Jerusalem! The walls were broken down and left the people vulnerable to attacks from their many enemies! Nehemiah was a devoted follower of the LORD God, and prayed for courage to ask permission to go to Jerusalem and help bring protection and order for the people! Nehemiah led the third return to Jerusalem.
The King commissioned Nehemiah in 444 B.C. and provided all the supplies and support he needed to complete the task! Nehemiah was called by God who gave him wisdom and strategy for success in all he did! He was a wise planner and he quietly evaluated the situation before approaching the Leaders. His plan was laid out and accepted by them! He then engaged the people to work on their own section of the wall! We all need the help of others at times! The death threats and mockery was on-going. The enemies even tried to frighten Nehemiah in running into the Temple for safety, which non-Levites were forbidden to do! Nehemiah did not let opposition or threats deter the task God had given him to do! Amazingly, the whole wall was completed in fifty two days! The enemy was humiliated and defeated by the LORD!
Malachi Ch.1-4: Malachi came on the scene after Nehemiah returned to Persia with a report to the king. By 430 B.C., temple worship was once again polluted by idolatry and offering lame and impure sick animals as sacrifices on God’s altar! Their failed to honor the LORD with tithes and did not display God’s goodness to the nations! His Name was considered dreadful among the peoples! Malachi, priest and prophet, cried out for repentance and return to holiness! When the people stopped support for the priests, they had to take time off to work and provide for their families! Failure to tithe was a violation of God’s Law and denial of pay for faithful priests!
Malachi 3-4: Malachi prophesied of Elijah/ John Baptist coming to prepare way for the LORD! He also reminded the people who honored the LORD that The Sun of Righteousness will rise up in “that day” and heal and bless the people of the LORD! “In that day” is an expression of the Millennium Reign of Christ in the Kingdom Age! From Malachi to Matthew, there was “no Word” from the LORD for over 400 years! The Jews looked forward to the Coming of a Messiah King! (Luke 2:8-11)
I TRUST THESE SCRIPTURES AND WRITINGS WILL ENCOURAGE YOUR HEART AND BUILD YOUR FAITH AS YOU READ THROUGH THEM! Our prayer for this website is that it continues to be a source of encouragement and blessings to all who have stopped by for a visit with us! Mary Mayko
Christian Fellowship Church Of Largo
Mary Mayko is Christian Fellowship's Adult Sunday School Teacher, Church Elder and one of our counselors. Mary also has the pulpit one Tuesday night a month to deliver Gods Word. She has penned inspirational poetry and writings for over 30 years.