Summary: Faithful in a faithless age, these two men should be studied by every believer. Here is a tool to get you started.
EZRA & NEHEMIAH
Dynamic Duo of Zeal for God
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
NOTE: In the early Hebrew manuscripts, these two books are one book Together with the book of Esther, they chronicle an amazing time of God’s faithful fulfillment of prophecy, and His ongoing program leading toward the coming Messiah, then some 500 years in the future.
The men and their times:
The 70 year exile of the nation of Judah was nearly over. The duration of the Babylonian captivity, as prophesied by faithful Jeremiah and believed by Daniel, was now coming to an end.
For 490 years, Israel and Judah had not observed the Sabbatical Year, as required by the Law of God. This, together with much other wickedness, led to the captivity by Babylon. The land had now received its 70 years of rest, and God would allow his people to return there.
The great and faithful prophet Daniel was coming to the end of his long ministry, and the Lord God of Israel was raising up a new generation of action oriented spiritual leaders to spearhead and oversee the return to Jerusalem.
Ezra was both a priest and a careful scribe and compiler of history. He was a descendent of Hilkiah, the godly priest who guided young king Josiah in reforming Judah. He proved to also be an able administrator in overseeing the restoration of the Temple. He was known to weep over sin, and he loved God.
It is likely that Ezra was also the man God used to finalize the Cannon of Scripture of the Torah. (Malachi lived and wrote near the end of Ezra’s life.) Truly in Ezra, we have a great hero of godliness whose national ministry spanned some 89 years, (536-457 BC) and who, like Moses, lived to be 120, and died serving God.
Nehemiah was a faithful man, who although cupbearer to the king, and living in a fine place, longed for the humble, rugged task of the restoration of the wall of Jerusalem. When the king let him go oversee this, he proved up to the task against every kind of opposition, and he succeeded. Like Ezra, he lived to an old age.
Ezra was preacher and administrator. Nehemiah was foreman and soldier. Both were inspiring to those who sought to please God. Both were faithful to God and to their life callings to the end, around 445 BC.
Now dive into these two great books in your Bible.