Ezra and Nehemiah, written by the same author, were originally one book. They tell of the return of some of the Jewish people from Exile in Babylon through the lives of three key leaders. Firstly Zerubbabel, who brings a large number of people back and rebuilds the temple. Next Ezra, who returns about 60 years later, restores community and teaches the Torah. Finally Nehemiah comes back and restores the walls.

The Bible Project summary link at the end of the prayer station and here [https://youtu.be/MkETkRv9tG8], is worth a watch as it captures the essence of these two books very succinctly and powerfully. Three leaders are sent by a ruler to do restoration work. They encounter opposition.

All three stories have disappointing endings. The hope accompanying restoration is not long lived. The returning people of God do not see the hoped for Messianic king, a faithful people of God or the presence of God in the restored temple to which all nations come to worship. In the last chapter of Nehemiah, Nehemiah sees that the hope of the work of Zerubbabel, Ezra and himself has not been fulfilled. This leaves the Bible reader with a question - what is going on and what is God going to do next?

And so the words and work of God through Jeremiah and Ezekiel are cued and the next part of the salvation story of God. ‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.’ (Ezekiel 36:26)