031110 Lessons from the Life and Character of Ezra - Read Ezra 5 - Bro Peter E
从以斯拉的生活和品德中汲取教导 阅读经文：以斯拉记第5章 － 彼得．艾弟兄
Good morning, dear brothers and sisters. 亲爱的弟兄姐妹:早上好:
能够再次的和你们分享这劝勉的话语是一件美妙的事情。在这一时刻我们要纪念通过我们的主耶稣基督的献祭以及在他的生命中所展现出的我们天父的爱。 It is wonderful to be able to once again share with you the word of exhortation as we come to remember the love of our Father shown in the life and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
主耶稣非常明智地要我们经常聚会，纪念他，寻求我们的罪得到赦免，并且鼓励我们以他为榜样。我们有可能想象平常一样，继续忙于自己的生活，以至于我们忘记了我们应该和周围的人有很大的区别。在我们今天的今天上午的讲道词中，我们要思考这样一个人，他真正明白他是神的仆人。他知道自己应该和其他人分别开，他将自己的生命献给他的神，这个人是我们的今天要学习的榜样，他的名字叫以斯拉。 It is very wise that our Lord commanded us to meet regularly and remember him and seek forgiveness for our sins and encourage ourselves in the example of his life. We can often go on each day and be so busy with our everyday lives that we forget that we are to be very different from those around us. Today in our exhortation we want to consider a man who really understood that he was a servant of God. He was a man who knew he had to be different from others and dedicated his life to his God. This man is a good example to us today and his name is Ezra.
我们已经在本周阅读了以斯拉记里面的一些内容，知道了发生在他那个时代的一些事情。今天早晨我们将思考以斯拉的品德，尽力去发现他生前曾经作过的事情，这些事情在我们的生活中也能够做到，而且应该做得更好。 During the week we have been reading the book of Ezra and all about the things which happened in his time. This morning we will consider the character of Ezra and try to find things which he did in his life which we can also do in our lives to make them better.
在我们看到以斯拉这个人物的特性以前，我们最好还是先来弄明白他所生活的时代。 Before we look at the character of Ezra it is important that we understand a little about the times he lived in.
在以色列和犹大王国的后期，神派巴比伦人来摧毁耶路撒冷，并且将犹太人俘虏到巴比伦。神这么作是因为犹太人的恶，以及他们崇拜偶像却不敬拜真正的神。神使他们被掳到外邦，让他们知道外邦人神是不可信赖的。可是神又是满有恩典的神，他通过先知耶利米预言７０年以后犹太人还是能够回到他们自己的土地上。这就是以斯拉记这本书开始所记载的内容。在第一章第一节当中我们看到神激动波斯王居鲁士的心，使他下令犹太人返回耶路撒冷并且重新修建圣殿。这件事情发生在公元前５３７年左右。 At the end of the kingdom of Israel and Judah God sent the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and take the Jews in captivity back to Babylon. This was done because of their wickedness and the way they worshipped other idols and not the true God. So he sent them to into captivity as punishment so that they might learn not to trust in other gods. In his great mercy he allowed them to return to the land after 70 years as he had promised by Jeremiah. This is where the book of Ezra begins. In chapter 1 and verse 1 we read about the decree that God caused Cyrus to make to let the Jews return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. This occurred in about 537 BC.
当时带领犹太人回归的领导人当中有所罗巴伯和以斯拉。在以斯拉记３：１当中我们看到他们已经回归故土，正准备建筑神的坛。在第８节当中又说到他们准备修建圣殿，但是我们看到这个工作并不是一件很容易的事情。因为周围的外邦人试图阻止他们，他们甚至写信给波斯王要他下命令禁止重新修建圣殿。 Some of the Jewish leaders who returned at this time were Zerubbabel and Joshua. In Ezra 3v1 we find they have returned and are beginning to build the altar and then in verse 8 they begin to build the Temple. But the work was not always easy and as we have read, the people of the nations around tried to stop the work of rebuilding. They even wrote to the emperor of Persia to ask him to stop the work and he made a decree that forbad the people from building.
在今天的圣经阅读当中（第5章）我们看到了当时有两位先知将神所以启示给他们的信息传递给百姓。他们是先知哈该和先知撒迦利亚。他们所写的书籍都放在了圣经旧约的最后部分。他们鼓励以色列人继续圣殿的重建工作，因为这是蒙神所赐福的，当时的波斯王已经收回了前一位国王的命令，允许犹太人继续重新修建圣殿的工作。这是我们在第６章中看到的。 In today's daily reading we read of two of the prophets of the day who gave their message to the people. These prophets are Haggai and Zechariah whose writings we have in the last part of the Old Testament. They encouraged them to continue the work of building the house of God and because of this they were blessed as the king revoked his former decree and the work of building was allowed to continue, as we read in chapter 6.
本书的第６章和第７章之间所发生的事情间隔了５８年，然后第一次提到了以斯拉这个人，为了在圣殿建立对神的敬拜，也为了重新组织以色列这个民族，他从巴比伦回到了耶路撒冷。第７章和第１０章告诉我们他的成就，然后以斯拉这个人就从书中消失了，直到尼希米记第8章提到他。那时他是在帮助尼希米庆祝耶路撒冷城墙的完工，以及对耶和华的正确敬拜的工作的完成出现的。这件事情发生在以斯拉记10章所记载事情的13年以后，因此以斯拉很可能在那段时间有回到了巴比伦在国王身边来帮助他工作。 Between the events of chapter 6 and 7 there is a period of about 58 years and then we get the first mention of the man Ezra. He travels to Jerusalem from Babylon to establish correct worship of God in the Temple and to organise the nation. Chapters 7 to 10 tell us of how he accomplished this work and then Ezra just disappears until he is mentioned again in Nehemiah 8. Here he is assisting Nehemiah in celebrating the completion of the walls and the true worship of Yahweh. This is about 13 years after the events of Ezra 10 and so he probably went back to Babylon during this time to help the King.
今天我们想将我们的注意力放在以斯拉为我们所建立的榜样上，我们如何向以斯拉学习，使我们的生活中有我们的主耶稣基督的样式。 Today we want to concentrate on what we can learn from the example of the man Ezra and how this helps us to be more like the Lord Jesus Christ.
以斯拉记第7章1-5节给除了以斯拉的家族史。我们可以看出他曾经是一位祭司。他是大祭司的后裔，他的祖先可以追溯到亚伦——以色列的第一位祭司身上。从这一点我们可以看出，即使犹大和以色列经过了多年的偶像崇拜，他的家族没有忘记他们曾经是祭司。他们教导自己的孩子效法大祭司亚伦，尽管在以后的300多年的时间里面他们不能够进神的帐幕或者圣殿，以斯拉从他出生开始就被教导他是一位祭司。不仅仅以斯拉知道自己是一位祭司，就连当时的皇帝也知道。在11节、12节中亚达薛西王就称呼以斯拉为祭司。 In Ezra 7 verse 1-5 we are given the family history of Ezra. From this list we see that Ezra was a priest. He was of the line of the greatest of the priests - the high priest, and we could trace his family right back to Aaron the first priest. From this we can learn that even after the many years of idolatry and false worship in Israel and Judah, Ezra's family had remembered they were priests. They had taught their children to follow in the example of Aaron the high priest so that all these hundreds of years later when there was no Tabernacle or Temple to worship in, Ezra was born and taught from young that he was a priest of God. And it wasn't just Ezra that knew he was a priest of the living God, even the ruler of the greatest empire in the world at the time knew Ezra was a priest. In verse 11,12 Artexerxes described Ezra as a priest.
亲爱的弟兄姐妹，这里就给我们一样极其重要的劝戒。我们也蒙神的召唤成为神的祭司，在启示录5:9,10中,众圣徒唱歌说：主“从各族各方，各民各国（包括中国、澳大利亚、英国等等）中买了人来，叫他们归于神，又叫他们成为国民，作祭司，归于神。”即使以斯拉有很多年不能够作祭司的工作了，但是他一直准备着。我们现在就要做好准备，当耶稣基督回来时我们将成为他的王国里的祭司。可是今天人们能够从我们谈话和行为的方式中看出我们是神的祭司吗？ Here, dear brothers and sisters, is a very important exhortation for us. We are called to be the priests of God in the Kingdom. In Revelation 5v9-10 the saints in the kingdom sing and say that God has redeemed them from all nations (China, Australia, Britain etc) to be kings and priests on the earth. Even though for many years Ezra was not able to do the duties of a priest in Judah - he was prepared as one. So we must now be prepared as priests, ready for the day when Jesus will return and make us priests in the kingdom. Do people today know by the way we talk and act that we are the priests of God?
在以斯拉记7：6中我们发现他是一位文士。文士的职责就是研究神的话语，将神的话语抄写出来供他人阅读和学习。他们当时作的最普遍的一样工作就是抄写摩西律法，好让犹太人知道神所喜悦的生活方式。这节经文还告诉我们以斯拉是一个敏捷的文士，他全身心投入到他的工作当中。 Reading further in Ezra 7v6 we find that Ezra was also a scribe. A scribe was someone who studied the word of God and wrote it out for others to read and learn from. At this time the most common thing that was copied was the Law of Moses so that the Jews knew how God wanted them to live. The verse also says that Ezra was a ready or diligent scribe - he was fully committed to his work.
以斯拉所作的并不仅仅是抄写圣经。在第10节中我们看到他作过3件事情：首先他预备好他的心灵来寻求耶和华的律法。阅读圣经并且明白圣经并不仅仅是我们顺着自己的天性做事而没有一点点效果。我们首先应该预备好自己的心灵来阅读神的话语。我们需要有于阅读圣经的时间，将那些属世的事情从我们的脑海中赶走，祈求神能够打开我们的心智使我们能够明白圣经。如果我们想有功效的话，阅读、学习圣经是不能够急于求成的。 Ezra did more than just write out the Bible, though. In verse 10 we find that he did three things. First Ezra prepared his heart to seek the Law of Yahweh. Reading and understanding the Bible is not something that we can just do naturally without any effort. We have to first prepare our minds to read God's word. We need to make time to read the word, to clear our minds of the worldly things around us and carefully pray that God will open our minds so that we can understand the Bible. Bible reading and study cannot be rushed if we want it to be effective.
其次，以斯拉按照耶和华的律法所要求的去做。知道神要我们做什么但是却不去做，这样是不好的。阅读圣经以后我们必须从其中吸取教训，以改变我们的生活，让我们的生活样式更接近耶稣。在耶稣的时代有很多的文士，但是他们可不是像以斯拉这样。他们明白律法，喜欢谈论律法，但是却从来不按照律法的要求去做。在马太福音23：1-3中耶稣说那些真正追随他的人不能够像这些文士一样。因此我们需要阅读圣经，明白神要我们所作的事情，然后去做。 Next Ezra did what the law of Yahweh commanded. It is no good understanding everything God wants us to do and not doing it. When we read the Bible we must try to find lessons which we can use to change our lives to make them more like Jesus' life. In the time of Jesus there were many scribes but these were not like Ezra. They understood the Law and loved to speak about it but never did what it said. In Matthew 23v1-3 Jesus tells his true followers not be like these scribes, so we also must read and understand what God wants us to do, and then do it.
第１０节所记载的以斯拉所作的第３件事情就是将神的律例典章教训以色列人。他并不是将有关神的知识和道路只留给他自己。他鼓励其他人遵守神的命令。我们也应该教导周围的那些愿意听从神的要求的人。弟兄姐妹们，我们应该留意以斯拉所教导我们的方法。 The third thing that Ezra did in v10 was to teach in Israel the statutes and judgments of God. He made sure he did not keep his knowledge and way of life to himself. He encouraged others to do as God commanded. It is very important that we too teach those around us who will listen about what God requires of us. Brothers and sisters, we must all take note of the way in which Ezra taught.
如果我们要彼此教导，做我们周围人的老师，首先我们必须做两件事。第一，我们要预备好我们的心灵来明白神的律法，我们必须阅读、明白并理解圣经，否则的话，我们是决不能教导其他人的。我们自己需要做到。我们不能够教导别人应该怎样做神所要求的事情而自己却不去做，否则别人就不会听从。只有在做好这两件事情以后我们的教导才会有些效果。 If we are to be teachers of each other and those around us there are two things we must do first. First we need to prepare our hearts to understand Gods law, we need to read, study and understand the Bible for ourselves or else we can never teach anyone. Then we need to do it. We cannot teach people to do what God wants without doing it ourselves or they will not listen. Only when we have done these two things can we be effective teachers.
我们现在所纪念的主耶稣基督在这一方面就是一个完美的榜样。在约翰福音17章中记载了耶稣为所有的信仰者所做的祷告。耶稣说他为我们的缘故，自己分别为圣，叫我们信徒也追随他分别为圣。耶稣是如何自己分别为圣？在第17节我们看到，我们是因为神的真理而分别为圣，神的真理是从他的话语---圣经当中看到的。耶稣所作的和以斯拉所作的一样，他预备好自己明白神的道，神的典章律例，并且全部地完全遵守。以他为榜样，耶稣基督教导我们如何在生活当中也像他一样，也要分别为圣。 Our Lord Jesus Christ, who we come to remember this morning, is the perfect example of this. In John 17 he prays for all the believers. He says that for us he sanctified himself so that we can also follow his example and be sanctified. How did Jesus sanctify himself? In verse 17 we find that we are sanctified by God's truth which is seen in His word the Bible. So Jesus did the same as Ezra, he prepared himself to understand God's word and commandments and then he did them all perfectly. By his example he has taught us how to live our lives and sanctify ourselves as he did.
主并不是唯一的要求我们以他为榜样的人。使徒保罗在哥林多前书11:1中要求我们效法他，就像他效法耶稣基督一样。保罗在腓立比书4:9中还说：“你们在我身上所学习的，所领受的，所听见的，所看见的，这些事你们都要去行。”我们能够要求其他的弟兄姐妹学习我们所作所为呢？还是当他们做了我们所作的事情以后会使我们感到尴尬？我们要让我们的生活一直都是其他人的榜样。 Our Lord was not the only person who asks us to follow his example. The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11v1 asks us to be followers of himself, just like he was a follower of Jesus. In Philippians 4v9 Paul asks the believers to do the things which they had learned, received and heard, and also the things which they had seen Paul do. Could we ask our brethren and sisters to do what we do? Or would we be embarrassed if they did everything we did? We must make sure our life is a good example to each other all the time.
我们还看到以斯拉有一个坚定的目标，就是要教导其他人有关神的正确道路。他告诉其他人他的目标，甚至波斯王也被他打动，允许他回到耶路撒冷重建圣殿，以及建立以色列国家的法律体系。（25-26节）。以斯拉知道是神使得这一切发生，（27-28），他赞美神的慈爱，他明白他所做的是靠神的力量，而不是靠自己的能力。 And so we can see that Ezra had a definite mission in his life. This was to teach others the perfect ways of God. And he told others about his mission - even the king of Persia was so impressed by this that he gave permission for Ezra to travel back to Jerusalem and re-establish Temple worship and also the legal structure of the nation (v25-26). Ezra acknowledged that this was all possible because of the influence of God (v27-28) and praised Him for His mercy. Ezra appreciated that whatever he was able to do was all by the power of God and not of his own strength.
在第8章中我们阅读到他们回到了耶路撒冷，以及他们所遇到的奇迹般的旅程。他们带着圣殿的金子、银子，走在大道上却没有遭到强盗的抢劫，平安地回到了耶路撒冷。以斯拉马上开始在这片土地上重建神的律法。 In chapter 8 we read of who went back to Jerusalem and the miraculous journey they had. Even though they were carrying all the gold and silver of the Temple they were not attacked by the many robbers that were on the highways and arrived in Jerusalem safe. Ezra immediately began to establish the law of God in the land.
阅读第9章和第10章让我们对以斯拉的品德有了更好的洞察。一些犹太人从被掳之地归来后又开始敬拜偶像，这真的是一场悲剧，因为我们还记得他们被掳到外邦的原因就是崇拜偶像。神因着他的伟大的慈爱，在他们离开故土在和多年以后又让他们回到自己的土地上，而那些人却又马上开始变得和他们周围的民族一样。 In chapter 9 and 10 we have a very wonderful insight into the character of Ezra. We read of the tragic story of how the Jews, who had returned from captivity, had begun to worship the gods of the land again. Remember that they had been sent into Babylon as punishment for this. After all these years of captivity God in His great mercy had provided them with a nation again and the people had once again begun to live like the nations around them.
第１节和第２节记载了以色列人的首领来见以斯拉，告诉他以色列人和外邦人通婚的事情，而这是不合乎摩西律法的。申命记７：１－４非常明确地禁止以色列人和外邦人结婚。因为和外邦通婚会导致以色列人从敬拜神转向崇拜外邦人所拜的假神。对于我们来说，使我们自己从这个世界和世界上的其他人所崇拜的东西脱离开来是非常重要的。我们不能够先行在真理的道路上，然后再和那些不信仰神的人建立婚姻的盟约关系。因为这将导致我们远离神。当然，如果我们在找到真理以前就已经结婚，情况会是完全不同的，但是我们必须尽力影响我们的婚姻的另一方，通过我们在生活当中所树立的榜样让他们也接受唯一的真神。 In verse 1and 2 the leaders of the land came to Ezra and told him that they had married into the nations around them which was in disobedience to the law of Moses. In Deuteronomy 7v1-4 the nation is clearly commanded not to allow their children to marry the people of these nations. And the reason is that they would be turned away from following God and would begin to worship the gods of the nations. It is so important that we keep ourselves separate from the ways of the world and the things they worship. We cannot be in the way of truth and then make a covenant in marriage to live with someone who is not interested in the God we worship because this will lead us away from God. Of course if we are already married before we find God's truth this is very different and we must try to influence our partner by the example of our life to accept the one true God.
很明显，那些人违背了神的命令，犯了罪。我们可能说，他们被俘虏这么多年所犯的的罪怎么能够在回来以后才这样悔改呢？但是我们还知道神希望我们在我们犯罪以及没有遵守神所有律例的时候天天悔罪。因此我们和这些以色列人没有区别。 The people had very clearly disobeyed one of God's commands and sinned. We might say, How could they do this after just returning from so many years in captivity as punishment for this very sin? But we also know what God wants us to do each day, and yet each day we sin and do not obey all God's commands. So we are no different from this people.
我们从以斯拉认罪的态度学到什么呢？第3节写到，他是如此地哀伤，以至于撕裂衣服，甚至连自己的头发和胡须都拔下一些来，坐着没有对其他人说话。好了，如果你努力地做正确的是事情，而且不是一件非常大的事情，不要担心，神能够宽恕你。以斯拉当时可以说是被气昏了。我们也应该这样对待我们所犯的罪。在我们不能够按照神要求我们去做时，我们应该感到难过和羞耻。应该严肃地对待所犯的罪，以斯拉明白这一点。 What we need to learn from is Ezra's attitude to sin. In verse 3 he was so distressed he tore his clothes and even pulled out some of his hair and sat down without saying a word. He didn't just say to the people, Oh well you are trying to do the right thing and this is not a very big thing so don't worry, God can forgive you. He was devastated. And so must we be about the sins we commit. We must be truly upset and ashamed that we have not done as God wants us to. Sin is very serious, and Ezra knew this.
在这种情况下，以斯拉本人并没有犯罪，但他为百姓伤心。很多时候我们会发现我们的弟兄姐妹的罪。我们应该向以斯拉学习该怎样去做。首先我们应该严肃对待。然后我们应该理解他们，帮助他们。我们在这一章里面看到，以斯拉并没有对众人大喊大叫，因为众人已经开始悔罪，他们知道他们做错了事情。以斯拉并没有对他们的罪感到耻辱，他为百姓祷告，向神承认忏悔他们的罪。 In this case Ezra himself had not sinned but he was so distressed for the people. Sometimes we may find out of the sins of one of our brothers or sisters. We need to learn from the example of Ezra about what to do. First we need to treat this seriously. And then we need to be understanding and helpful to them. Ezra in this chapter does not yell and shout at the people because they had come to confess their sin - they knew that they had done the wrong thing. Ezra instead feels ashamed with them for the sin and prays with them and confesses their sin to God.
因为他的祷告和他所树立的榜样，百姓为自己的罪感到羞耻，以斯拉能够将百姓从罪里拯救出来。在10章1节中说，但以斯拉做在圣殿的时候，以色列人聚集在他的面前，他们痛哭，因为他们是如此难过。以斯拉并没有对他们说话。正是因为以斯拉为他们做出的榜样，百姓才改变了他们的生活，在第10章的其余部分我们看到，他们约定再次服侍神，休掉他们所娶的外邦的妻子。 Because of this prayer and the example that Ezra set of being ashamed of the sins of the people, he was able to save the people from their sin. In chapter 10v1 he sat down before the Temple and all the people came to him and they all wept because they were so upset. Ezra never said a word to them. It was his example that made them change their lives and in the rest of Chapter 10 they make a covenant to serve God again and put away the wives that they had taken from the nations.
这件事情为我们提供了一个伟大的榜样，我们怎样去对待其他人的罪。今天早上我们到这里来，因为我们都知道自己曾经犯罪，需要耶稣基督的工作来拯救我们。我们是否像以斯拉那样，为自己的罪感到羞愧？我们是否经常愿意向上帝忏悔自己的罪？但我们向神承认自己的罪的时候我们是否悔改，不再犯罪，是否记得我们在受洗的时候和神所立的约？ This provides us with a great example of how we need to deal with our sins and the sins of others. We come this morning because we know we have sinned and need the work of the Lord Jesus Christ to save us. Are we like Ezra, truly ashamed of our sins? When we see others in trouble do we feel so upset for them that we weep and pray with them? Are we always willing to confess our sins before God? And when we have confessed our sins do we try to repent and not sin again and remember the covenant we have made to God in baptism?
在我们今天早上吃这饼喝这杯，纪念无罪的耶稣为我们的罪而死，使我们得到永生的盼望的时候，这些都是我们需要问自己的问题。 These are questions we need to ask ourselves as we break the bread and drink the wine this morning, remembering Jesus who died for us even though he never sinned, so that we can have life.
弟兄姐妹们，让我们向以斯拉这极好的榜样学习，记住我们记住我们将是神的祭司，并且在生活当中展现出来。让我们预备我们的心灵来阅读并明白神的话语，然后照着神的话去做，这样我们才能最终教导他人神奇妙的道路，不仅是现在，而且在将来神荣耀的国里。 Brothers and sisters, let us all learn form the wonderful example of Ezra. Let us remember that we are the priests of God and show this in our way of life. Let us prepare our minds to read and understand God's word, and then to do it, so that we may finally teach others of the God's wonderful ways, not just now but also in His glorious Kingdom.