- What important lessons can we learn from God’s call to Ezra? Ezra 7:1-10
- His heart was for the things of God
- He desired to not just know things theoretically but to practice what he preached
- Having the ‘hand of the Lord’ on one’s life is necessary for effective ministry
- He was willing to do God’s work
- He was a teacher
- He took the lead in trying to restore true worship
Ezra 7:1-10 ESV
 Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah,  son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub,  son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth,  son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki,  son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest-  this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him.  And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants.  And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.  For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him.  For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
2. What important lessons can we learn from God’s call to Nehemiah? Why was he chosen?
- Nehemiah loved God
- Nehemiah loved the Lord’s people
- He was a man of prayer
Nehemiah 1:1-11 ESV
 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel,  that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem.  And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire."  As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.  And I said, "O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,  let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned.  We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.  Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples,  but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.'  They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.  O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." Now I was cupbearer to the king.
3. What did these two leaders have in common? Love for God’s word and love for his people
These two characterics are indicated by all those who are chosen of God
4.How might Ezra have prepared his heart? How may we do the same thing?
By studying God’s word and applying it.
Ezra became a mouthpiece for God, educating those about him in the principles that govern heaven. During the remaining years of his life, whether near the court of the king of Medo-Persia or at Jerusalem, his principal work was that of a teacher. As he communicated to others the truths he learned, his capacity for labor increased. He became a man of piety and zeal. He was the Lord’s witness to the world of the power of Bible truth to ennoble the daily life.—Prophets and Kings, p. 609.
Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts. The tremendous issues of eternity demand of us something besides an imaginary religion, a religion of words and forms, where truth is kept in the outer court. . . .. . . Shall we let the example of Ezra teach us the use we should make of our knowledge of the Scriptures? The life of this servant of God should be an inspiration to us to serve the Lord with heart and mind and strength. We each have an appointed work to do, and this can be accomplished only by consecrated effort. We need first to set ourselves to know the requirements of God, and then to practice them. Then we can sow seeds of truth that will bear fruit unto eternal life.—Conflict and Courage, p. 260.
1 Timothy 4:11-16 ESV
 Command and teach these things.  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
5 .In what year was Ezra called to ministry?
The year 457BC was the year in which Artaxerxes issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the year Ezra was called. This year is also the starting point of the prophecy concerning the Seventy weeks of years and the prophecy of the 2300 days.
6.How does Daniel 9:24-27 reveal the ministry of Jesus?
Daniel 9:24-27 ESV
 "Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.  Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.  And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.  And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."
7.What happened after 69 weeks of years, or 483 years after 457 BC in AD 27? Luke 3:1-6, 21-22
Luke 3:1-6 ESV
 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,  during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.  And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways,  and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
Luke 3:21-22 ESV
 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened,  and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
8.What happened in the midst of the last 7 years, in the Spring of AD 31 whereby Messiah would “bring an end to sacrifice and offering”?
Hebrews 10:11-14 ESV
 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,  waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.  For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
9.How should this establish our faith?
We have a God who can foretell the future - who knows the end from the beginning
Isa 43:9 (GNB) Summon the nations to come to the trial. Which of their gods can predict the future? Which of them foretold what is happening now? Let these gods bring in their witnesses to prove that they are right, to testify to the truth of their words.
10.What event occurred at the conclusion of the 490 years in AD 34?
The death of Stephen
Acts 7:54-8:3 ESV
 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.  But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."  But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.  Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.  And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep
 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.  Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.  But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
11.According to Daniel, the 70 weeks, or 490 years, were determined or cut off for the Jewish people. What were they cut off from? See Daniel 8:13-14, 26-27
They were cut off from the period of the 2300 days.
Daniel 8:13-14 ESV
 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, "For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?"  And he said to me, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state."
Daniel 8:26-27 ESV
 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now."  And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king's business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.
12.What does God call us to and what does he choose us for ?
Romans 8:28-30 ESV
 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
We each have an appointed work to do, and this can be accomplished only by consecrated effort. We need first to set ourselves to know the requirements of God, and then to practice them. Then we can sow seeds of truth that will bear fruit unto eternal life.—Conflict and Courage, p. 260
13.What special call did these individuals receive from God?
- John the Baptist
Luke 1:13-17 ESV
 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,  for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.  And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,  and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."
Luk 3:1-3 (GNB) It was the fifteenth year of the rule of Emperor Tiberius; Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip was ruler of the territory of Iturea and Trachonitis; Lysanias was ruler of Abilene,  and Annas and Caiaphas were High Priests. At that time the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.  So John went throughout the whole territory of the Jordan River, preaching, "Turn away from your sins and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins."
Luke 1:30-38 TLB
 "Don't be frightened, Mary," the angel told her, "for God has decided to wonderfully bless you!  Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name him 'Jesus.'  He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God. And the Lord God shall give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he shall reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom shall never end!"  Mary asked the angel, "But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin."  The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of God shall overshadow you; so the baby born to you will be utterly holy-the Son of God.  Furthermore, six months ago your Aunt Elizabeth-'the barren one,' they called her-became pregnant in her old age!  For every promise from God shall surely come true."  Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true." And then the angel disappeared.
1 Timothy 4:9-16 ESV
 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.  Command and teach these things.  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
14.What kind of election or call of God is described in Romans 9?
Thus, there are two types of election/choosing that God does. First, God chooses every single one of us for salvation and wants us to be transformed into the image of Jesus. Second, God chooses different people for specific tasks. Romans 9 is the choosing of Jacob to be the father of the Israelite nation - not a choosing to salvation.
15 Read the story of God’s call of Moses. Exodus 3:1-14, 4:1-7, 10-17. What can we learn from this extended interaction between the LORD and Moses about God’s call and our freedom to accept or reject His call?
We learn that God does not rob Moses of freedom to express his mind
Exo 3:1-14 (GNB) One day while Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, he led the flock across the desert and came to Sinai, the holy mountain.  There the angel of the LORD appeared to him as a flame coming from the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire but that it was not burning up.  "This is strange," he thought. "Why isn't the bush burning up? I will go closer and see."  When the LORD saw that Moses was coming closer, he called to him from the middle of the bush and said, "Moses! Moses!" He answered, "Yes, here I am."  God said, "Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.  I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." So Moses covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God.  Then the LORD said, "I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings,  and so I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them out of Egypt to a spacious land, one which is rich and fertile and in which the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites now live.  I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them.  Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country."  But Moses said to God, "I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"  God answered, "I will be with you, and when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship me on this mountain. That will be the proof that I have sent you."  But Moses replied, "When I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors sent me to you,' they will ask me, 'What is his name?' So what can I tell them?"  God said, "I am who I am. You must tell them: 'The one who is called I AM has sent me to you.'
Exo 4:1-7 (GNB) Then Moses answered the LORD, "But suppose the Israelites do not believe me and will not listen to what I say. What shall I do if they say that you did not appear to me?"  So the LORD asked him, "What are you holding?" "A walking stick," he answered.  The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." When Moses threw it down, it turned into a snake, and he ran away from it.  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Reach down and pick it up by the tail." So Moses reached down and caught it, and it became a walking stick again.  The LORD said, "Do this to prove to the Israelites that the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to you."  The LORD spoke to Moses again, "Put your hand inside your robe." Moses obeyed; and when he took his hand out, it was diseased, covered with white spots, like snow.  Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your robe again." He did so, and when he took it out this time, it was healthy, just like the rest of his body.
Exo 4:10-17 (GNB) But Moses said, "No, LORD, don't send me. I have never been a good speaker, and I haven't become one since you began to speak to me. I am a poor speaker, slow and hesitant."  The LORD said to him, "Who gives man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? It is I, the LORD.  Now, go! I will help you to speak, and I will tell you what to say."  But Moses answered, "No, Lord, please send someone else."  At this the LORD became angry with Moses and said, "What about your brother Aaron, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. In fact, he is now coming to meet you and will be glad to see you.  You can speak to him and tell him what to say. I will help both of you to speak, and I will tell you both what to do.  He will be your spokesman and speak to the people for you. Then you will be like God, telling him what to say.  Take this walking stick with you; for with it you will perform miracles."
16.What lessons about responding to God’s call can we learn from the life of Jonah?
Our lives will never be fulfilled or happy if we do not follow the tasks laid down by God for us. We must follow what God wants us to do with our lives. As the Lord's prayer says 'Thy will be done'
Jon 1:1-3 (GNB) One day the LORD spoke to Jonah son of Amittai.  He said, "Go to Nineveh, that great city, and speak out against it; I am aware of how wicked its people are."  Jonah, however, Jset out in the opposite direction in order to get away from the LORD. He went to Joppa, where he found a ship about to go to Spain. He paid his fare and went aboard with the crew to sail to Spain, where he would be away from the LORD.
Jon 1:4 (GNB) But the LORD sent a strong wind on the sea, and the storm was so violent that the ship was in danger of breaking up.
Jon 1:17 (ESV) And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
17. How does God respond if we reject ? We suffer loss - either temporarily or permanently
- The book of Hebrews
- The wilderness years
Psa 32:8-9 (ESV) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.  Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
18.What stories in the ministry of Jesus illustrate our freedom either to accept or reject God’s call on our lives?
Luke 19:1-10 ESV
 He entered Jericho and was passing through.  And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.  And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today."  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."  And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
ii) The rich young ruler
Matthew 19:16-22 ESV
 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?"  And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments."  He said to him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,  Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  The young man said to him, "All these I have kept. What do I still lack?"  Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."  When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Luke 5:27-32 ESV
 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, "Follow me."  And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.  And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.  And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"  And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
19. What does the case of Judas illustrate about God’s election?
“The history of Judas presents the sad ending of a life that might have been honored of God. Had Judas died before his last journey to Jerusalem he would have been regarded as a man worthy of a place among the twelve, and one who would be greatly missed.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 716.