September 25: Ezra 7-10
8 And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace. And now 13 I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, 15 and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem.
27 Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, 28 and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.
Ezra 7:8-10, 12-16 & 27-28
21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
God Leads His Dear Children Along!
Time had passed for those who had returned to Jerusalem to build the temple; sin and discouragement had set in so that the building had completely stopped. Ezra, who had set his heart to study and teach the Law of God, was again determined to return to Jerusalem with a large group of Israelites to encourage those who were in Jerusalem.
God miraculously provided for them through an amazing decree by Artaxerxes allowing any who desired to return to Jerusalem the freedom to go; the king also provided gold, silver, bronze, and precious stones to take with them.
For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel.
Noting the king's decree, Ezra wrote in his journal:
I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.
Sometimes we forget that men such as Ezra faced the same weaknesses and temptations that we face. As the people were ready to set out for Jerusalem Ezra declared a three-day fast to beseech the Lord God for His protection, for he was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect them.
For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.”
It was an amazing time! God called Ezra for a particular job, provided a decree from the king allowing the people to return to Jerusalem, and gave the exiles a safe passage to their homeland. God, who had a specific task for Ezra to do, provided everything necessary for the trip, including a large sum of gold, silver, and bronze, offered freely by the king and his servants.
How many times do we shrink back from doing something for the Lord because the obstacles seem too great to overcome? Just as God was faithful in providing for Ezra, so He will faithfully provide for His children today. We must never forget our true purpose for being here, and continually seek God for wisdom in knowing what He would have us to do.
Ponder the words of this gospel song written by G. A. Young, as you go about your duties of this day.
In shady green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along.
Where the water's cool flow bathes the weary one's feet,
God leads His dear children along.
Some thru the waters, some thru the flood,
Some thru the fire, but all thru the blood;
Some thru great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.
God Bless You,
All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.