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Seizing New Opportunities Ezra 1:1-6; 3:1-3, 10-11


Introduction

       Do you believe some opportunities occur only once in a lifetime? I think that is a true statement. We

need to be sensitive to the leading of the Lord to know when these opportunities occur, and be prepared to be

the ones Seizing New Opportunities when God sends them our way.

 

1.   Seizing New Opportunities . . Responding To God Given Opportunities. 1:1-6

       A.   Responding To The . . Prophecy Of God’s Prophet. 1:1a

              1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, the word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was

fulfilled.

 

       B.   Responding To The . . Proclamation Of God’s Person. 1:1a - 4

              The Lord put it into the mind of King Cyrus to issue a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom and [to put it] in writing: 2 This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build Him a house at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Whoever is among His people, may his God be with him, and may he go to Jerusalem in Judah and build the house of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 Let every survivor, wherever he lives, be assisted by the men of that region with silver, gold, goods, and livestock, along with a freewill offering for the house of God in Jerusalem.”

 

       C.   Responding To The . . Preparation Of God’s People. 1:5-6

 

              1.    Prepared In . . Spirit. 1:5

                     5 So the family leaders of Judah and Benjamin, along with the priests and Levites—everyone

God had motivated —prepared to go up and rebuild the Lord’s house in Jerusalem.

 

              2.    Prepared In . . Sacrifice. 1:6 

                     6 All their neighbors supported them with silver articles, gold, goods, livestock, and valuables, in addition to all that was given as a freewill offering. Ezra 1:1-6 (HCSB)


       If a new opportunity comes your way check if any prophecy relates to it. Jeremiah prophesied this opportunity that happened in the lives of the Jewish people. Cyrus proclaimed an order to all the people of Israel to go build the Temple. It is unique to see how God used King Cyrus, and we can call him God’s

person; He is called by Isaiah, “My shepherd.” (Isa. 44:28). God does work in mysterious ways. Many times we need to be preparing our lives so that when opportunities arise we are ready to respond. Note in verse five how God’s motivation of the people’s spirit moved them to prepare. Their motivation spilled over and affected all the people as they made sacrificial offerings that further prepared them for the task ahead.

 

2.   Seizing New Opportunities . . Recognizing The Priority Of Worship. 3:1-3

       A.   Recognizing The . . Scriptures In Worship. 3:1-2

              1 By the seventh month, the Israelites had settled in their towns, and the people gathered together

in Jerusalem. 2 Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers the priests along with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his brothers began to build the altar of Israel’s God in order to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.

 

       B.   Recognizing The . . Surroundings Of Worship. 3:3

              3 They set up the altar on its foundation and offered burnt offerings for the morning and evening

on it to the Lord even though they feared the surrounding peoples.



       Proper opportunities will be confirmed in our worship experiences. The scriptures must play a significant part in worship. Check out a church that does not proclaim the gospel message, or stand for righteousness. They will not emphasize the scriptures. The sacrifices in Israel’s worship were tied to the teachings of Moses written in the Law of God. Proper worship must not be hindered by the surroundings of negative people. We

cannot put our eyes on the people of the world, or those who do not understand our worship, because they would hinder us. In fact our worship done properly should attract others to come to Christ.


 

3.   Seizing New Opportunities . . Rejoice In The Lord’s Help. 3:10-11

       A.   Rejoicing Through The . . Praise Of The Leaders. 3:10a

              10 When the builders had laid the foundation of the Lord’s temple, the priests, dressed in their

robes and holding trumpets, and the Levites descended from Asaph, holding cymbals,

 

       B.   Rejoicing Through The . . Positions Of The Leaders. 3:10b

“. . . took their positions to praise the Lord, as King David of Israel had instructed.

 

       C.   Rejoicing Through The . . Peoples Praise. 3:11

11 They sang with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord: “For He is good; His faithful love to Israel

endures forever.” Then all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s house had been laid. Ezra 3:1-11 (HCSB)


       If we properly rejoice in the Lord He will direct us in our reaction to new opportunities. In the text

the people rejoiced in their praise of the leaders. It had been years since the people observed the Priests,

and Levites dressed in their robes, with the Priests holding trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals ready to

lead in worship. What a blessing this had to be, and praise broke forth. The expressions of the people echoed throughout Jerusalem as the foundation of the Lord’s house was complete. Recently in St. Louis the ball team won the world series, and many said the applause and praise by those in attendance was deafening. I think that

kind of praise resounded from the people in Jerusalem. Do you remember these words from Zachariah when he regained his speech; “his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.

(Luke 1:64) So like those in Ezra’s time the Lord may bring to us the opportunity of Seizing New Opportunities. Amen? Amen! (For addition information see: http://preachhim.org/SundaySchoolIndex.html)