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Sunday School

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THE LESSON BACKGROUND. No task is ever completed that is never started. However, for some people the biggest problem is not starting a job but finishing what they start. The Jews who returned to Judah after the Babylonian Captivity needed encouragement about perseverance. When King Cyrus of Persia issued his edict permitting the Jews to return to their home land (see Ezra 1:1-4), over 42,000 responded (see Ezra 2:64-65). They laid the foundation for the temple (see Ezra 3:1-13), but opposition from surrounding peoples quickly arose and the people stopped the rebuilding effort (see Ezra 4:1-24). The first group of returnees arrived in Israel in 538 B.C., but because of the opposition from their enemies, the work was halted for about 16 years until Haggai delivered God’s message to rebuild the temple. In this week’s lesson, the people didn’t think that the time had come to continue to rebuild God’s house. However, through His prophet, God’s word to rebuild went forth. It was most important that God’s people obey His command to rebuild the temple and answer “Haggai’s call for Faithful Service.”

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