1. What are the benefits of hard work?
2. Ezra had devoted himself to studying God’s Word and following what it teaches (Ezra 7:1-10; The Story, pp. 291-292). How did Ezra’s commitment to God’s Word shape his life and ministry?
3. Randy noted that throughout The Story God calls His people to 1) refocus on God; 2) re-center on His plan for our lives; 3) remember who God is; 4) rebuild our relationship with Him. Can you think of people from our study of The Story who did this?
4. God worked through King Artaxerxes to send the exiles back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and establish worship (Ezra 7:11-28; The Story, pp. 293- 294). Share some examples of how God used surprising people and circumstances to accomplish His will in this world.
5. Nehemiah was a man of prayer (Nehemiah 1, 4, 6; The Story, pp. 294-299). What situations led Nehemiah to pray and what do we learn from his example?
6. Nehemiah not only prayed hard but he worked hard. What are the dangers of doing one or the other but not both at the same time?
7. As the people were seeking to rebuild their relationship with God, they got very serious about reading the Bible. They even had a team of people available to help everyone understand the meaning of God’s Word. In what ways can we help the next generation of believers to know, love, and follow the teaching of the Bible?
8. Malachi was the last prophet of the Old Testament and this movement of The Story. He challenged the people to give God their first and best, not their last and leftovers (Malachi 1:6-10; 3:6-12; The Story, pp. 302-304). What are some ways we give God our leftovers rather than our first and best?