Ezra 7 — Ezra Sent to Teach the People
Ezra 8 — Ezra Sends for the Levites, Prayer for Protection
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One Reply to “Jul 13 — Ezra 7-8”
Where the first 6 chapters of Ezra details the returning exiles and the work of restoring the temple. The next section, “After these things” (Ezra 7:1), focus on restoring the faith community as Ezra himself appears on the scene: “this Ezra came up from Babylon” (7:6). He was well versed the the Law of Moses, “for Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel” (7:10).
God uses Artaxerxes to implement his restoration through Ezra. His letter begins, “Now I [Artaxerxes] decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom…” (7:13) and includes a no-tax clause in 7:24 along with a punishment guarantee in 7:26. Artaxerxes is sure he is the king in control. Ezra sought out priests and temple servants to restore order to the temple and observances required. He fully trusted in the Lord and he was not disappointed, “So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer” (8:23).
God protected Ezra on his journey back to Jerusalem and provided faithful leaders to support the ministry there. These past days we’ve been working on the house in Montgomery, Alabama. It’s been in the 90s the whole time. The list was long and working in the heat was exhausting, but God protected us the whole time. I can’t tell you how many times I prayed for provision as we worked. Though I’m worn out from the work, it really was just 10 days of hard labor and huge expenses for which we hadn’t planned. Those returning to Jerusalem knew they had a lot bigger task to perform, hard work for months on end. I know it’s weird to compare rebuilding Jerusalem to fixing our house in Alabama, but I truly believe God provides and God protects now as he did then. I’m so thankful for his provision and confident that somehow his work is being accomplished through these trials.