JesusWalk® Publications

Rebuild & Renew
The Post-Exilic Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi

Rebuild & Renew: The Post-Exilic Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and
Book front cover | back cover

A Disciples' Study of Struggle, Prayer, and Spiritual Renewal

Old Testament history has two primary "watersheds," the Exodus from Egypt and the Exile in Babylon. After the Exile, God brings a remnant of his people back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and experience a true revival of faith. This post-exilic period (537 to 430 BC) is a time of heady victories and crushing defeats. Of noble leaders and polluted priests. Of corruption and cleansing. Of decline and renewal.

In Rebuild and Renew, we study in chronological order the Bible books written in this period -- the historical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and the minor prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. These books aren't well known among Christians today, but they are chock full of lessons for disciples, designed to help us grow in Christ's image.

We learn how God works through some amazing people.

  • Cyrus, founder of the Persian Empire, whom God moves to free his people and restore Jerusalem.
  • Zerubbabel, governor and grandson of a king, who rebuilds Jerusalem's Temple in the face of great opposition.
  • Joshua, the sinful high priest, reclaimed as "a brand plucked from the fire."
  • Nehemiah, king's cupbearer, who organizes the people to rebuild Jerusalem's walls and gates in 52 remarkable days.
  • Ezra, priest and scribe, whose broken heart and devotion to God spark a genuine Holy Spirit revival.
  • Haggai the prophet, who stirs a discouraged leaders to complete the temple project after a decade of disinterest.
  • Zechariah, a priest-prophet, who sees Jesus from afar as "the one whom they have pierced," a "fountain" to cleanse from sin and impurity, and the Branch.
  • Malachi, whose prophecies challenge shallow faith and inspire those looking forward to the Messenger of the Covenant, writes the final book of the Old Testament.

We also meet the vividly-drawn enemies of God's people -- Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, the corrupt high priest Eliashib, and a prophet and prophetess who say what they're paid to say.

The books include lessons on why God withholds blessings, and why he restores them, many promises of the coming messiah, the promise of covenant marriage and the dangers of divorce, finding the joy of the Lord as our strength, and much, much more.

This is intended for personal study as well as instruction, presented in ten lessons. Helpful thought and discussion questions make it useful for personal enrichment and by small groups and classes. "Lessons for Disciples" at the conclusion of each section capsulize the spiritual learnings of each passage studied. Extensive research contained in the footnotes makes it a goldmine for teachers and a boon to preachers involved in sermon preparation.

Here is an abbreviated table of contents for the books:

Rebuild & Renew: The Post-Exilic Books (272 pages)
A Bible study in 10 lessons

  • Preface
  • Introduction to the Post-Exilic Period
  1. Returning to Rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1-6)
  2. Realigning Priorities (Haggai 1-2)
  3. Encouragement for the Builders (Zechariah 1-6)
  4. Visions of the Messiah (Zechariah 7-14)
  5. Confession and Repentance (Ezra 7-10)
  6. Nehemiah's Prayer (Nehemiah 1:1-2:8)
  7. Restoring the Wall (Nehemiah 2:9-7:73)
  8. Repentance and Revival (Nehemiah 8-13)
  9. Sincere Sacrifices, Faithful Priests, and the Marriage Covenant (Malachi 1-2)
  10. Tithing and the Day of the Lord (Malachi 3-4)
  • Appendix 1. Participant Handouts
  • Appendix 2. Chronology of the Post-Exilic Period
  • Appendix 3. Main Characters of Ezra and Nehemiah
  • Appendix 4. The Medo-Persian Empire

Detailed Table of Contents

Participant Lesson Handouts (PDF, you may reprint free for each class member)

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