I’m excited to announce our new sermon series starting this week (May 8 – Mother’s Day) entitled “Ruin to Restoration,” a sermon series on the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Historical Context

These two books describe the narrative of the people of God who have been in exile under Babylonian rule who now find themselves under Persian rule in relatively short transition. Unlike the Babylonians, the Persians believe in religious plurality and encourage the Jews to worship freely. God grants them favor with King Cyrus and subsequent kings through the edict and resources to rebuild Jerusalem. The stories of Ezra and Nehemiah chronicle those journeys in rebuilding the city and the temple.

Why Is This Such a Big Deal for Jewish History

This is a huge turning point in the history of Israel. Babylonian exile and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple was their punishment for how they used the temple as their religious talisman to protect them from external and outside influence (Jer 7:1-11). For Jews in exile, they were trying to figure out how to atone for their sins (without the temple) while they were under Babylonian rule. When King Cyrus commissions them to go back to Jerusalem, they are overjoyed and understandably so. They now will be able to atone for their sins and worship the LORD how He has instructed them.

Modern Day Application

It also shows how God has not forgotten His covenant people even though they had forgotten Him. He is faithful to them and has sovereignly guided their history. As we study these books, we are reminded of God’s covenant with us and how He does not forsake us or leave us in spite of our sinful and rebellious actions. Like the Jews who returned to Jerusalem, our response to God should always be one out of humility and repentance. The people returned to the law that had guided them for so many years and returned worship to the true and living God.

God truly restores people from ruin, and He is still in the restoration business today. Because of Jesus, God restores us through the work of His son, and atonement has been made so we can truly come into restorative relationship with God today.