NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passages: Ezra 3:1-7,10-11; 6:19-22
Discussion questions: What would you list as foundational for building a strong spiritual life? What steps would you recommend to someone for building that spiritual foundation?
Food for thought:
The excitement filtered throughout the neighborhood. Word had spread that Randall gave his family a treehouse kit for Christmas. To Randall it seemed like a good idea, until the kit was delivered and placed in the backyard. The crate held boards of all shapes and sizes, along with bolts, hinges and more parts. Randall’s children invited friends to join them in watching their dad assemble the new community headquarters. As they gathered, Randall stared into the box, wondering where to start.
Ezra may have felt the same thing when he led a group of people back to Jerusalem, only to find the temple and other buildings destroyed. No doubt, the discovery was overwhelming. The people desired to assemble on the seventh month of their calendar for a time of repentance and remembrance. The first day of that month functioned like our New Year’s Day.
Certainly the people desired to worship in the temple again, but how would they ever rebuild? Where would they start? With Ezra’s guidance, they decided to start by rebuilding the altar within the temple. There could be no worship without the altar; it was foundational.
The New Year gives us an opportunity to evaluate our lives. We will reflect on the things God allowed us to see and how He faithfully provided. We will no doubt also find areas that need to be rebuilt, either due to neglect or to sin. Through His death and resurrection, Christ became the foundation for living. We no longer need to rebuild the altar, but we do need to always return to Him, making sure that our lives honor Him out of gratitude for His salvation. We discover along with Ezra that repentance always takes us into God’s presence, where we find God’s grace for a fresh start.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.
Other ongoing Bible study options offered by LifeWay for all ages can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.