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Ezra 4-6 Community Group Questions, Sept 24, 2023

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Community Group Questions, Ezra 4-6, "Faith Under Fire" Rev. Blake Altman Trinity Gathered Worship, Sept 24, 2023

God's people face opposition from this point until the end of Nehemiah. The events in Ezra 4 takes place over a period of nearly 100 years, from Cyrus' decree in 539 to the reign of Artexerxes (465 BC-424 BC).  Though they returned to the land, things were not easy for God's people. Pluralism, syncretism, apathy and political power plays have plagued God's people from outside the covenant community and from the within.    It is the same for us today isn't it?

Speaking of the Old Testament Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:11–12, Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come (ESV). 

One of the specific applications of Ezra 4-6 relates to Christians in the workplace.  The main point of the sermon was this: God is at work through the opposition we experience in our workplaces

Since many of us spend most of our week at work (or school), it's important to learn how to apply the gospel in our workplace. Let's take the opportunity this week to explore how the gospel empowers us to face opposition in the workplace. 

  1. Zerubbabel navigates a moral decision by refusing to partner with the syncretistic peoples who remained in the land over the previous 150 years. This would have been a compromise of the task at hand.  What moral questions do you face in your industry? 
  2. Describe a time when you faced opposition in the workplace.
  3. Looking back at the experience from question 1, what lessons would you say that you learned?  
  4. When you face the stress of opposition or temptation how do you typically deal with it?  

A helpful way identify your tendencies is to recognize how you "connect the D.O.T.S."

D.  Distract ourselves

O. Opt out / shut down / withdraw 

T. Thinking / overthinking / obsessing

S. Substance abuse / soothing strategies (over-eating, drinking, etc.)

 1. Which of these do you most relate to?  

2. If that is a difficult question to answer, ask someone close to you what they see about your coping strategies (opposed, tempted, etc.)

5.  Consider the temptations Jesus navigated to accomplish the task given to Him by His Father. The Greater Zerubbabel, Jesus perfectly accomplished the task for you.  Spend time as a community group praying for one another and praising God for the astounding work of Christ on your behalf.