July 18, 2017
Ezra 7-Part 2
LET IT GLOW
Do you make preparations for a vacation or a journey? We are in that process now. Our airline tickets have been secured for our trip to the Portland area next month. We are making a tentative agenda concerning what we will be doing in the area, places to see. Next is deciding where we want to stay for the week. The anticipation is exciting for us. I have not been in the area before, yet my husband was during his teen years.
Don't you know the Jews and Ezra were excited as they made preparations for their journey back to their homeland? Join me as we look at their preparations.
Between the chapters 6 and 7 was a period of 57 years. The book of Esther fits in this time frame. During the seventh year of the reign of King Artaxerxes, the priest-scribe Ezra led 1,754 Jewish men to Jerusalem, located in their Promised Land. When you include their women and children, the number could have been 7,000 to 8,000. This was the second group to return after their captivity into Babylon. (Zerubbabel took the first group, who rebuilt the Temple and worship system and city.) It was a 4 month journey to make the 900 mile Any Jew could go with the king's permission.
However, by this time, the first remnant was in need of spiritual guidance by that time. That was the purpose of Ezra's going to Jerusalem. He was going to investigate and make sure the people were obeying the Law, God's Word.
What was Ezra's response to the commissioning of the king? Verses27 and 28 tell us:
- He blesses and praises the LORD God of their fathers.
- He recognized that God had moved upon the heart of the king to honor (beautify) the LORD's house, the Temple in Jerusalem.
- Also, God had showed mercy when He stirred the king and his officials to appoint him for this great mission.
- Ezra was strengthened as God's hand was upon him.
Do we recognize God's hand in our success? It is the God-given power that enables us to achieve His will, not our own power. Do we praise and thank Him for His help and protection?
LET IT GROW
Not only did the king support Ezra and the Jewish returnees, but he was allowed or given:
- Ezra was to oversee the gifts given for the Temple-the king and officials gave silver and gold, as well as officials in the providence, the Jewish people and priests gave offerings.
- The money donated bought animals and food to be sacrificed in the worship services of the Temple.
- He was allowed to use left over money as he felt needed for God's service, not selfishly.
- Wiersbe suggests that Ezra was given an expense account of $100,000 to be taken from the king's treasury. What an extraordinary amount back then.
- The return of the Temple furnishings were to be give to the Temple. Babylon's king had taken them away.
- Ezra was given permission to request help from political officials.
- He was allowed to appoint magistrates and judges for the region, which gave the Jews some local autonomy.
- We can't leave out the letter granting Ezra and the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem according to their desires, not a command by the king.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus commissioned His disciples and us, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Friend, have you made preparations for your journey to eternal life? Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to God except through Him. (John 14:6) I rejoice if you have. However, have our loved ones?
LET IT GO
Leave Babylon (the world) and make the journey to the Promised Land (heaven) on the road of faith in Jesus.
Surrender to God's will for my life.
Trust Him to provided what is needed.
Praise the Lord for all He does.