Hay versos, historias, y libros de la Biblia que son muy familiares para los seguidores de Jesús. De niño, es posible que haya asistido a la Escuela Bíblica De Vacaciones o a la Escuela Dominical y haya escuchado a John 3:16: "Porque Dios amó tanto al mundo que dio a Su Hijo único, que quien crea en el no perecerá, pero tienen vida eterna." Para muchos de ustedes, cuando te convertiste por primera vez en un seguidor de Jesús, alguien, probablemente la persona que te llevó a la fe en Jesús, te dijo que leyeras el Evangelio de Juan. En algún lugar del camino descubriste los Salmos y capturaron tu corazón. Oíste historias sobre Jesús alimentando a la 5000, muriendo en la cruz y levantándose de entre los muertos en el tercer día. Has oído historias sobre Abraham y Sara, Moisés, David y Goliat, Jonás y el pez grande, Zaqueo el "hombrecito" que subió en un árbol de sicomoro, el apóstol Pablo, y otros, pero para la mayoría de ustedes, you are not familiar with the stories of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Cuando Connie y yo llegamos a la Iglesia Cristiana de Britton en junio de 1990, el primer estudio que hicimos en la adoración matutina fue Nehemías. La razón por la que elegí Nehemías fue bastante simple, Jerusalén estaba en mal estado, parecía que sus mejores días estaban detrás de ella, pero Nehemías fue a Jerusalén para reconstruir los muros y rejuvenecer al pueblo. Había oído historias similares de la gente de la Iglesia Cristiana de Britton. Me contaron historias de cómo había sido la iglesia años antes. También me contaron historias de cómo la iglesia había estado en un largo declive, una disminución tan larga que la denominación se había acercado a los líderes acerca de la venta del edificio a otra congregación. The atmosphere back in those days was bleak and somber to put a positive spin on it.

Bien, Había oído sermones de Nehemías sobre la construcción de proyectos, proyectos de mejora, conseguir-los proyectos de la iglesia-de nuevo en la pista, etc. así que pensé nehemías sería un gran lugar para que empecemos. La versión de Cliff Notes de la serie de sermones fue así: "Todo el mundo coge un ladrillo y una llana! Vamos a trabajar y ver a Dios reconstruir la Iglesia Cristiana de Britton!" No es una mala idea teniendo en cuenta el estado de la iglesia en ese momento derecho? Vamos a involucrarnos todos, utilizar los dones que nos ha dado, y ver a Dios trabajar.

Ahora soy el doble de viejo que cuando enseñé por primera vez a través de Nehemías aquí en la Iglesia Cristiana de Britton. He hecho mucho tiempo viviendo desde 1990. He experimentado cosas que nunca pensé que experimentaría de nuevo en 1990. El Señor ha traído cambios, algunos bienvenidos y otros que habría dado cualquier cosa para evitar, y nunca podría haber anticipado, allá por 1990. Hay una constante que nunca ha vacilado, nunca falló, y me ha sostenido a través de todo y esa es la Palabra de Dios. No estoy hablando de un verso de "aquí o allá" o una lectura casual el domingo por la mañana de la Escritura en la pantalla. Estoy hablando de profundizar en la Palabra de Dios y confiar en lo que Dios ha tenido que enseñarme a través de todo. Lo que he aprendido es que cuanto más leo la Palabra de Dios, el estudio de la Palabra de Dios, Dios me muestra nuevas ideas sobre viejos pasajes familiares en todas y cada una de las páginas. This has been so true as I’ve been studying Ezra and Nehemiah these past several weeks.

Ahora, Estoy seguro de que tenemos algunas personas aquí con nosotros esta mañana que son "creyentes del Nuevo Testamento" y usted puede estar preguntándose, "¿Por qué vamos a pasar tiempo estudiando el Antiguo Testamento?” For those of you who are unfamiliar with the phrase, "El creyente del Nuevo Testamento," déjame explicar. Muchos seguidores de Jesús nunca se encuentran en la Biblia hebrea o lo que usted llama el Antiguo Testamento. Un pastor de mega-iglesia muy popular incluso ha llamado a la iglesia moderna para "desengancharse" del Antiguo Testamento. Ciertamente no sería la recomendación de Jesús para ti y para mí. Permítanme darles pruebas de por qué diría esto. Si te vuelves a Luke 24:44-48 y voy a establecer la escena para usted. Después de la resurrección de Jesús caminaba por el camino a Emaús cuando se unió a dos de Sus seguidores, Cleopas y su amigo. Estaban tan desanimados, no reconocieron a Jesús y pensaron que aún estaba muerto. Entonces Jesús les habló estas palabras,

44 Él les dijo:, «Esto es lo que te dije mientras yo estaba todavía con ustedes: Todo debe cumplirse la que está escrito de mí en la ley de Moisés, los profetas y los Salmos.» 45 Entonces abrió sus mentes para que pudieran comprender las escrituras. 46 Les dijo, «Esto es lo que está escrito: El Cristo va sufrir y levantarse de entre los muertos al tercer día, 47 y arrepentimiento y perdón de los pecados serán predicadas en su nombre a todas las Naciones, comenzando en Jerusalén. 48 Vosotros sois testigos de estas cosas. (Lucas 24:44-48 NIVO)

Jesús dijo a sus seguidores: "Todo debe cumplirse que está escrito sobre mí en la Ley de Moisés, los Profetas y los Salmos." Jesus didn’t pull out a few of His favorite Bible books, estas son las tres divisiones de la Biblia hebrea en la época de Jesús. La Ley de Moisés o la Torá, los Profetas, y los Escritos, que incluyen Salmos. Jesus made it clear that what was written in the Hebrew Bible long before He was ever born was about Him.

Necesito aclarar algo para nosotros. Jesús no quiso decir que Su nombre apareció en cada página de la Biblia hebrea, but He did mean that there were things written about Him before He was born that would be fulfilled in His lifetime.

Sólo un ejemplo más de por qué Jesús no nos querría a ti y a mí "desengancharnos" del Antiguo Testamento. Sabemos que el 27 libros del Nuevo Testamento para ser parte de la Palabra de Dios, pero para aquellos que escribieron el 27 libros del nuevo testamento, su Biblia era el 39 libros de la Biblia hebrea. Al escribir los libros del Nuevo Testamento, los autores se basaron en la Biblia hebrea. Por ejemplo, en Romanos 15:4, Pablo le dijo a la gente en Roma,

4 Por todo lo que estaba escrito en el pasado fue escrito para enseñarnos, para que a través de la paciencia y la consolación de las escrituras, tengamos esperanza. (Romanos 15:4 NIVO)

What was it that was “written in the past?” It was the Hebrew Bible. It is important for us to study the whole counsel of God, la totalidad de la palabra de Dios. When we come to Ezra-Nehemiah we come to the last historical account of the Chosen People of God in the Hebrew Bible. It had been a long history, a remarkable history. God chose a man named Abram, changed his name to Abraham, and told him he would be the father of a nation that would bless all the nations on the face of the earth. Abraham’s grandson Jacob had twelve sons who became the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob’s descendants ended up in slavery for 400 years in Egypt, but God raised up a deliverer named Moses. Moses led them out of Egypt where they wandered in the wilderness for 40 year before arriving at the border of the Promised Land. Joshua took over for Moses and the Hebrew slaves moved into the Promised Land. God raised up a king named David who ruled the nation of Israel for 40 years and it seemed like the Israelites would ride the crest of the wave forever. Solomon followed his father, David, and division followed Solomon. The United Kingdom of Israel was divided in two with Israel in the north and Judah in the south.

God had been sending His messengers to His people for the longest time, encouraging them to turn back to Him, to rely upon Him, to put away their idols, but the people just wouldn’t listen. God had called His people to be holy, to be set apart, not like the rest of the people with their self-centered ways, but the people just wouldn’t listen. The prophets told the people that it wasn’t too late to turn back to God, pero ellos no escucharon. Entonces, the wave came crashing down. What once seemed like heaven on earth appeared to end in the worst possible way as the Northern Kingdom of Israel was invaded and conquered by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. y luego, casi 150 años más tarde, the Babylonians conquered and destroyed Jerusalem, la Ciudad Santa de Dios, en 586 B.C.

The unthinkable had come true and yet the people of God shouldn’t have been surprised. God had told His people that if they didn’t repent, if they didn’t turn back to God, judgment was coming. The problem was there were other prophets, not messengers sent from God, but false prophets who shared a message everyone wanted to hear. The people listened to the false prophets and tuned out God’s prophets. Let me give you one example from the prophet Jeremiah.

26 «sin duda en mi pueblo hay malvados, que están al acecho como cazadores de aves, que ponen trampas para atrapar a la gente. 27 Como jaulas llenas de pájaros, llenas de engaño están sus casas; , sus casas están llenas de engaño; se han convertido en ricos y poderosos 28 y han engordado y y son pedantes. Sus malas acciones no tienen límite de; ni defienden tampoco el derecho de los menesterosos, no defienden los derechos de los pobres. 29 ¿Y no los he de castigar por esto?» dice Jehová. «¿No he de vengarme de semejante nación? 30 «Ha pasado una cosa horrible y chocante en la tierra: 31 Los profetas profetizan mentiras, los sacerdotes gobiernan por propia autoridad, y mi pueblo amarla de esta manera. Pero qué harás al final? (Jeremías 5:26-31 NIVO)

“The prophets prophesy lies, los sacerdotes gobiernan por propia autoridad, y mi pueblo amarla de esta manera. Pero qué harás al final?" After so patiently waiting for His people to come back to their senses and turn back to Him, God raised up an adversary to come into Jerusalem and carry out the promise God had made to discipline His people.

Nabucodonosor, el rey de Babilonia, first came into Jerusalem in 605 B.C. during Jehoikim’s reign. Nebuchadnezzar made Judah a vassal state and took thousands of the brightest and most promising citizens from Jerusalem back to Babylon, including Daniel, who would later become one of the greatest prophets of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar made two more attacks on Jerusalem. En 597 Antes de Cristo, just eight years after his first attack, Nebuchadnezzar’s men raided the Temple and the Royal Palace, stripping them of everything valuable. He forced thousands of the most promising and prominent citizens of Jerusalem, including the young prophet Ezekiel, back to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar made Zedekiah a puppet king over Jerusalem, but when Zedekiah rebelled, Nebuchadnezzar’s army made one final trip to Jerusalem and destroyed the temple and the city in 586 B.C. The end had come just as Jeremiah and other prophets had said it would if the people did not repent of their ways and turn back to God.

I’ve thought so much about what that experience must have been like for the people during these many weeks since I’ve been reading and studying Ezra and Nehemiah. Imagine with me for a minute. Imagine you and I are living in a day with no electricity, no television, no hay internet, no cell phones, no hay coches, no airplanes, none of the modern-day conveniences we take for granted. It’s hard to imagine isn’t it? An enemy army, the most powerful army in the known world, has been harassing us for 20 años. You and I are living under the constant threat of another invasion when all of a sudden they enter Oklahoma City with a force we’ve never witnessed before. They destroy our city, round many of us up, and march us, not drive or fly us, but march us 1000 miles to a place we’ve never been before. That’s a long walk!

When we arrive the people and culture are so unfamiliar to what we’ve been accustomed to back in Oklahoma City. The people are just so different. Their ways are so unfamiliar. And their “faith?” There’s no Britton Christian Church, the equivalent of the Jews Temple in Jerusalem, but there are pagan temples everywhere. You and I know there is One True and Living God, but the people of this strange land serve many gods. We would feel so far from home, so lost, and so full of questions.

The days turned into weeks. Pasaron meses. Years went by. Decades came and went. It would seem like we would never see home again. I want you to think about what it would be like, just how strange and unfamiliar it all would be to you and me to experience being uprooted from everything we know and love and to be taken to a strange land with strange customs. It would be overwhelming would it not? And it was devastating to the Jews in Jerusalem who had been taken to Babylon. We don’t know who wrote Psalm 137, but he had to have been one of the exiles. He was in Babylon, sitting by the Tigris or Euphrates rivers, when he penned these words.

1 Por los ríos de Babilonia se sentó y lloró cuando recordamos Zion. 2 Allí en los álamos colgamos nuestras arpas, 3 de allí nuestros captores nos pedía canciones, nuestros verdugos exigieron canciones de alegría; dijeron, «Nos cantan una de las canciones de Zion!» 4 Cómo podemos cantar las canciones del Señor en tierra extranjera? (Salmos 137:1-4 NIVO)

"…We sat and wept when we remembered Zion.” You don’t have to work too hard to picture that scene in your mind do you? Aun así, this should not have been surprising to any of the Jews of Jerusalem who experienced the actual devastation of their city and temple before being uprooted and taken to Babylon. Jeremiah had foretold this event before it ever happened. Él escribió,

8 Sí, esto es lo que el Señor Todopoderoso, el Dios de Israel, dice: «No deje que los profetas y adivinos entre vosotros que engañan. No hagas caso a los sueños que animarles a tener. 9 Ellos están profetizando mentiras a usted en mi nombre. Yo no los he enviado,» dice Jehová. 10 Esto es lo que dice el Señor: «Una vez finalizadas setenta años para Babilonia, Vendré a ti y cumplir mi promesa de gracia para traerle a este lugar. (Jeremías 29:8-10 NIVO)

Seventy-years. It would be seventy-years before those who had been taken to Babylon would be ushered back home by God Himself. Dios dijo:, “I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.”

What were the Jews to do during those seventy years in Babylon? Just continue to sit and weep? Were they to spend all of their time yearning to go back home, trying to figure out a way to get out of Babylon? Hop a train? Hitchhike cross country? Call up an Uber? That wasn’t God’s plan for His people. He gave them clear instructions as to what they were to do in their new home in Babylon. Venga conmigo a Jeremías 29 and let’s find out what God had to say to His people, comenzando en el versículo 4.

4 Esto es lo que el Señor Todopoderoso, el Dios de Israel, dice a todos los llevaron al exilio de Jerusalén a Babilonia: 5 «Construir casas y establecen; jardines de la planta y comer lo que producen. 6 Casarse y tener hijos e hijas; encontrar a esposas para sus hijos y sus hijas en matrimonio, para que también puedan tener hijos e hijas. Aumento en el número que; no disminuir. 7 También, buscar la paz y la prosperidad de la ciudad a la que le he hecho al exilio. Orar al Señor para, porque si prospera, también usted prosperará.» (Jeremías 29:4-7 NIVO)

Embrace your new normal. Build houses. Plant gardens. Start a family. I love the next part of the instruction God gave His people: "Buscar la paz y la prosperidad de la ciudad a la que le he hecho al exilio. Orar al Señor para, porque si prospera, Usted también prosperarán." God told His people to be the very best citizens in all of Babylon. And many of them did just what the Lord had told them to do.

Daniel was taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. He was chosen to receive special training in the King’s Academy in Babylon, the best education in the world at the time. The purpose of the academy was to train young men for leadership roles in Nebuchadnezzar’s administration. Quite an honor for a young jewish boy. Daniel became a close confidant of the king when he was able to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams.

The Persians conquered Babylon in October of 539 Antes de Cristo, casi 50 years after Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged Jerusalem. Cyrus was the king of the Persians and we’ll talk more about him next week. Ezra and Nehemiah both served under the Persian King Artaxerxes, the fifth Persian king after King Cyrus. You may not know the name Artaxerxes, but you may have heard the name Esther. Esther was the young jewish girl who married Artaxerxes’ father, Xerxes. Both Ezra and Nehemiah served under Artaxerxes. Ezra was a scribe. Nehemiah was a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. The cupbearer was one of the king’s most trusted servants, his first line of defense against those who would try to poison him. So there were some Jews who did just what God had told them to, they were the best of citizens.

Just as there were three deportations of Jews to Babylon, we’ll read about three different journeys of the Jews from Babylon back to Jerusalem. Ezra and Nehemiah led the 2nd and 3rd wave on their 1000 viaje de millas. I’m so thrilled we have this opportunity to spend the next several weeks learning from Ezra-Nehemiah. What will we learn? Estoy feliz que lo preguntas.

We’re going to learn about the faithfulness of God. After almost seventy years in Babylon I’m certain the vast majority of those who had been uprooted had given up any hope of ever going back to Jerusalem, but God had not forgotten His promise. God had held true to His promise to discipline His people if they didn’t turn back to Him and we will see that He held true to His promise to bring them back home when their time in exile was over. Dios es tan fiel. Never forget that my friend–Dios es tan fiel!

We’re also going to learn that sin and disobedience comes with a price. Ravi Zacharias once said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” The story of the Babylonian exile is such a powerful example of this. God’s people just knew in their hearts that God loved them, afterall, they were the Chosen People. De alguna manera, some way they began to believe they could do anything they wanted and get away with it. Was it their neglect of the Word of God, their unwillingness to listen to the prophets God sent their way, their fascination with the false prophets who deceived and lied to them? It was all of the above. Sin and disobedience comes with a heavy price and that is still true today.

There are so many more lessons we’ll learn along the way, but there’s one I have to shine a spotlight on this morning and you can bet I’ll come back to it again and again. It doesn’t matter who is on the throne of the kingdoms of this world, our God is the King of kings! As we study Ezra and Nehemiah we’ll see God working through pagan kings who had no desire to worship and serve God, yet they did serve Him. Proverbios 21:1 nos dice,

1 El corazón del rey está en las manos del Señor; dirige como un curso de agua donde le de la gana. (Proverbios 21:1 NIVO)

La próxima semana, when we open the very first verse of Ezra we’ll see an example of this truth. Ezra writes, "…the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia…” (Esdras 1:1 NIVO) It was just a little over a week ago when the world leaders met together in France for the 45th G7 Summit. Did God cease moving the hearts of the world’s most powerful leaders in Ezra 1? No creo que en absoluto. God is moving the hearts of those who humble themselves before Him and those who refuse to even acknowledge His existence. I pray today for the Lord to move the heart of our President, Donald Trump. I pray today for the Lord to move the heart of Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom. I pray today for the Lord to move the heart of President Emmanuel Macron of France. I pray today for the Lord to move the heart of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. I pray for the Lord to move the heart of Iraqi President Barham Salih. Oh God, move the hearts of all of those in power that they might serve your purposes and not their own. Is that your prayer this morning?

It should not only be the prayer we pray for those over us in the governments of this world, but it should be our prayer for ourselves: “Oh God move my heart so that I might live for Your glory and honor. Oh God move my heart so that I would yearn to know you more and more. Oh God move my heart so that I might live like Ezra and Nehemiah, faithful to you in this strange land of the United States so that others might desire to know you as well.” Is that your prayer this morning?

I want to encourage you, Si ese es tu oración, to turn to Him this very morning. Confess your need, confess your desire, confess your sin if He brings it to mind, and rededicate your heart and soul to serving Him each and every day. If you’ve never received Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life then I would encourage you to do that this morning. Come forward and let me know of your desire to know Jesus as Lord and Master. We will help you begin to grow in your relationship with Him.

 

Mike Hays

Britton Christian Church

922 NW 91a

OKC, OK. 73114

Septiembre 8, 2019

 

Introducción a Esdras-Nehemías
«El regreso»
Etiquetado: