Coming Home to Worship (Ezra 8)

Sermon Recap

If you’ve lived in a foreign country for a long time, coming home would seem like a welcome respite. You would value being rooted and having a sense of belonging that you may never really have in a different land. That’s what Ezra and Israelites sought in returning home and what we find in our worship every single week.

1. Worship Remembers God’s Promise

Genealogies can be boring but they often have important details that shed light on what God is doing. In our passage, the genealogy shows us that Ezra took serious God’s promise to gather His people together in Jerusalem again to worship Him rightly. Everyone was to be properly represented and part of the journey. He holds a greater promise for His church, a vision that we have a foretaste of in our worship.

2. Worship Trusts God’s Provision

In calling for fasting and prayer, one would think Ezra felt desperate after turning down help from the Persian king. Yet our attitude toward this call to trust in God may reveal our own heart postures toward dependence on God. Do we allow our circumstances to dictate when it’s proper to fast and pray or do we understand that we’re always dependent on God, no matter how much we plan and think we have control over?

3. Worship Praises God’s Power

Ezra counts the valuables before and after the journey because it highlights a phrase we see three times in this passage: “The good hand of God was with us.” All these valuables went toward the temple and served to highlight the complete worship service they all celebrated when this second group of refugees returned. It was evidence of God’s power coming through for His people.

Reflection and Application

  1. How do you feel when you finally return home after traveling in a foreign country for awhile? What makes it so relieving to be home?

  2. What are the promises that God has made to His church that we take hold of in our worship? Are these promises foundational to why you worship?

  3. What type of situations typically force you to fast and pray? Does any change in those circumstances make you less dependent on prayer? Why?

  4. What would it look like to regularly trust in God in every moment?

  5. In what ways have you seen God’s good hand upon you? How has it driven you to worship?