The books of Ezra and Nehemiah, jewels from the Old Testament post-exilic period, resonate with the theme of restoration, offering profound insights into resilience, unity, and fruitful multiplication. Through the narrative of rebuilding Jerusalem and restoring the people of Israel, these books provide timeless lessons on how to be like trees: firmly planted, growing together, and made to multiply.
- Firmly Planted – Rooted in Faith: In the story of Ezra-Nehemiah, the figure of Zerubbabel emerges as a poignant example of being firmly planted. His name, meaning “planted in Babylon,” reflects the challenges of being rooted in a foreign land. However, Zerubbabel learned to bloom where he was planted, displaying resilience and unwavering faith. In a similar vein, Ezra-Nehemiah teaches us the importance of deep roots in faith, especially when faced with adversity. The reference to Nehemiah 8:1 highlights a crucial moment when Ezra reads from the book, emphasizing the role of scripture in anchoring one’s faith. We too can draw inspiration to thrive in our unique circumstances, firmly planted in our convictions.
- Growing Together – Unity in Diversity: The second lesson unfolds in Nehemiah 3, showcasing the diverse elements of society coming together for a common purpose—the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. People from various backgrounds, skills, and professions unite, illustrating the power of collaboration. This section underscores the importance of growing together, mirroring the cooperative strength found in a thriving forest. Just as different trees coexist in harmony, Ezra-Nehemiah encourages us to appreciate and embrace diversity. The unity of purpose among the people of Jerusalem exemplifies the strength that emerges when a community grows together, working towards a shared goal.
- Made to Multiply – Fruits of Purposeful Living: The joyous scene depicted in Nehemiah 12, where the joy of Jerusalem is heard from far away, symbolizes the fruition of purposeful living. The restoration of Jerusalem was not merely about physical rebuilding but also a spiritual revival. Nehemiah 12 captures the exuberance of a community fulfilling its purpose. This section reinforces the idea that, like trees bearing fruit, we are designed to multiply our positive impact. The challenge from Nehemiah 12:31, “Remember me,” echoes through the ages, compelling us to consider how we will be remembered. By living purposefully, making a positive impact, and leaving a lasting legacy, we fulfill our inherent potential for multiplication.
In the rich narrative of Ezra-Nehemiah, themes of restoration, being firmly planted, growing together, and made to multiply weave together a tapestry of timeless wisdom. These books also point us forward, disappointing us, yet steering us toward the one who would come to do the greatest work of restoration, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is building the New Jerusalem, the city of God. Our ultimate hope is in Him.
As we reflect on the lessons from these books, may we find inspiration to deepen our roots in faith, foster unity in diversity, and multiply our positive impact in the world. The final challenge from Nehemiah 12:31, “Remember me,” echoes, prompting us to contemplate our own legacy and how we will be remembered. Just as the joy of Jerusalem echoed from afar, may our lives, firmly rooted in these principles, resonate through time as a source of strength, growth, and multiplication for generations to come.
Ezra-Nehemiah are also books about God’s calling and God’s vision, where is God calling you? What breaks your heart? To learn more about our vision for MBC, please check out our Vision 2024 webpage here.