The Journey Brought Forth "Ezra"
This blog series is focused on God’s word bringing people through their journeys in His intentional way that He has set in front of them thereby bringing them through to His completion.
Exodus chapter twenty through Matthew chapter four is the section of scripture that most Christians find themselves living in its revolving pattern of realization, but once they receive its revelation, the Third Stage of Life is what their lives are built upon instead of attempting to achieve.
The book of Ezra starts by telling us King Cyrus of Persia wrote a command for the house of the Lord God to be rebuilt, the men of Israel that were scattered went back to build it and gather resources to do so, and Cyrus sent the vessels back that Nebuchadnezzar had taken. (God is still in control today and able to restore His people’s item that seemed to be taken away by their enemies.)
The people of Israel, their servants, their horses, and the priests that returned to Judah were numbered and listed by genealogy, and in the seventh month, they observed the feast of tabernacles. (They had been out of their homeland for seventy years and upon return, they kept the commandment of God by living in Jerusalem in tents. This is the same focus and obedience that God demands of His people today. They must come out of their comfort zone and live a life focused on Him.)
The foundation of the house of the Lord was set, and a great celebration occurred, but some of the elderly people who had seen the original house wept for their memory of it. The foreign people who were in the land requested the ability to help build the house of the Lord, and the Israelites rejected their request; because they knew they were adversaries. The adversaries then troubled them slowing them down until the Persian kings changed reign, and the people finally wrote a letter to a subsequent king that the Israelites were building the house of the Lord, and if it were finished, they would be a rebellious city like they had been in the past. King Artaxerxes wrote a command for the work to cease; then the Jews began building the house again after a few prophets spoke to them. This infuriated the adversaries, and they wrote another letter to the new king named Darius, but the Jews wrote a letter also stating the permission had been granted by King Cyrus. King Darius’ people found the decree written by King Cyrus and Darius sent a letter instructing the people to allow the house of the Lord to be built and to give them the tribute money that is collected on that side of the river to assist them in building the house and the items that are required for sacrifices; furthermore for anyone who attempts to hinder the work is to have their house destroyed and build a place to hang them with the materials; so, the Jews were given the materials necessary to finish the work, and it was completed during the sixth year of King Darius’ reign. The Jews dedicated the house of the Lord with an offering and set the Levites and priests in their proper places as the Law prescribed, and the next month they observed the Passover on its proper date. (God not only restores His people to the place they once were, but He also has the world that was against them participate in the restoration when His people are persistent in the things He commands.) .
Ezra goes to Jerusalem during the reign of Artaxerxes; which is twenty-nine years after King Darius’ reign with a letter stating that he should be given what is required to sacrifice and use for the house of God up to a certain amount whatever he requested, no toll or tribute shall be laid upon the people who attended unto the house of God, and whoever does not follow the law of God or of the king should be slain, banished, or his goods shall be confiscated; then Ezra praised the Lord God for placing this in the king’s heart and taking care of him. (God continues turning the people’s hearts to Him and helping His people through their journeys.)
There is then a list of leaders and Levites who returned to Israel as Ezra requested and they held a fast once they joined him at the river to ask for God’s protection. There was a lot of treasures sent to the house of the Lord, and they were weighed upon placing them in His house; then, they made another sacrifice to the Lord. (God is worthy to be praised for who he is and what He does for His people.)
The next order of business was to address the intermarriages with the foreign peoples by the Jews. This was a major issue; because it was clearly against what God commanded and had already been committed against Him which the people had a hard time understanding how to “put away their wives.” Within three months every man had put away their foreign wives. (God has set His people apart from the foundation of the world, and they are to be separated to Him eternally. This separation is from the things He requires them to be set free from for their good and to bring Him honor.)
God makes the way for His people to return to their homeland and be restored even though it might seem like it will never happen. This restoration is the gift that they receive once they have been humbled enough to realize He is their only hope. This humbling process must occur though every Stage of Life; so they can be more connected to Him than they were in the past.