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Reflections Podcast
Reflections Podcast
Reflections • Episode 29
Is God Inclusive?
15m • July 1, 2021

What can we learn from Ezra and Nehemiah's stories?

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Yahweh warned Israel not to tie themselves to foreign gods through marriage. But when those same foreigners left their gods to honor him, Yahweh welcomed them with open arms. Yahweh's people were not as welcoming. Ezra and Nehemiah loved God, but they were misguided to exclude foreigners from joining God's people. Since Ezra and Nehemiah weren't exactly models for godliness and reform, what can we learn from their stories? How can we welcome others in the family of God who are different from us?

Bible Reading: Isaiah 56:3,6-8 in contrast to Ezra 4:1-3

Reflection Questions:

  1. What are some behaviors that might show another follower of Jesus that they belong in the family of God?
  2. What are some behaviors that could exclude or alienate another follower of Jesus from your community?
  3. What is one small step you can take today to encourage someone else's sense of belonging?

Show Credits:

Host: Cheree Hayes Message: Dr. Carissa Quinn Production: Cooper Peltz, Dan Gummel, and Zach McKinley Bible Reading: Dan Gummel Theme music: Grant William Harold Background Music: Pete James Johnson, Reflections

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2 Chronicles 36:22-23  –  13m
Looking Back to Look Forward
13m
Malachi 3:16-4:6  –  13m
Treasured by God
13m
Daniel 7:9-14  –  13m
There’s Hope in the Nightmare
13m
Esther 4:1-17  –  16m
Who Does God Choose to Work Through?
16m
Ezra 4:1-3, Isaiah 56:3-8  –  15m
Is God Inclusive?
15m
Ezekiel 36:22-36  –  14m
Promise for New Hearts
14m
Lamentations 3:19-33  –  14m
Learning How to Grieve from Lamentations
14m
Jeremiah 4:16-28, 1 Thessalonians 5  –  15m
The Deep Anguish of God
15m
Song of Songs 8:6-7  –  15m
Wisdom from Sensual Love Poetry?
15m
Ecclesiastes 4:4-12  –  15m
One Handful of Rest
15m
Isaiah 42:1-16  –  14m
Power of Metaphor
14m
Proverbs 1:1-7  –  13m
How to Live Wisely
13m
Job 38:1-18, Job 42:1-6  –  15m
How God Replies to Job’s Suffering
15m
Jonah 4:1-11, Exodus 34:5-9, 1 Kings 19:3-5  –  14m
God’s Mercy on Our Enemy
14m
Hosea 14:1-9  –  14m
What God Wants from Us
14m
Isaiah 61  –  12m
What Good News Looks Like
12m
1 John 1  –  12m
Message of the Prophets
12m
2 Kings 25  –  14m
What God Does About Suffering
14m
1 Kings 6  –  14m
Redeeming Disappointment
14m
2 Samuel 7  –  14m
Faithful Through Failure
14m
1 Samuel 2  –  13m
When You Feel Powerless
13m
Ruth 2  –  12m
How God Treats His Enemies
12m
Judges‬ 2  –  12m
When We Walk Out on God
12m
14m
Deuteronomy 30  –  11m
Understanding Ancient Law
11m
Deuteronomy 4  –  12m
God's Wisdom on Display
12m
Numbers 13  –  11m
Trusting God in the Wilderness
11m
Leviticus 25  –  13m
Gift of Rest
13m
Hebrews 10  –  12m
Meaning of Sacrifice
12m
Exodus 19  –  12m
Rescued for a Purpose
12m
Exodus 3  –  15m
When We Cry Out
15m
Genesis 32  –  13m
Wrestling God
13m
Genesis 1-3  –  15m
Why God Gave Choice
15m

Reflect

Once you've listened to the podcast, take time to reflect on these questions.

  1. What are some behaviors that might show another follower of Jesus that they belong in the family of God?
  2. What are some behaviors that could exclude or alienate another follower of Jesus from your community?
  3. What is one small step you can take today to encourage someone else’s sense of belonging?

Go Deeper

If you would like to dive deeper, use these Scriptures and questions for personal study or small group discussion.

Message Question:
How did Carissa’s message challenge or encourage you today?

Read: Ezra 4:1-3, Isaiah 56:3-8

Yahweh warned Israel not to tie themselves to foreign gods through marriage. But when those same foreigners left their gods to honor him, Yahweh welcomed them with open arms. Yahweh’s people were not as welcoming. Ezra and Nehemiah loved God, but they were misguided to exclude foreigners from joining God’s people. Since Ezra and Nehemiah weren’t exactly models for godliness and reform, what can we learn from their stories? How can we welcome others in the family of God who are different from us?

  1. As you review these two passages, compare who is quoted in each text. What are they saying to exclude or include? What words or phrases especially stand out to you?
  2. Those who sought to help were early Samaritans who worshiped Yahweh outside the temple in Jerusalem. Compare Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman in John 4:4-41 with the leader's interactions with the Samaritans in Ezra 4:1-3. What do you observe?
  3. Review today's passage from the prophet Isaiah. Many people feel like outcasts. What does God want them to understand about their belonging and his promises?
  4. Jesus overturned tables to make room for the outcast to be restored to God’s community. Compare Matthew 21:12-14 and Isaiah 56:7. What do these passages have in common? How does Jesus’ passion to make room for all nations impact you today?
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