Ezra was both a priest and a scribe. As a priest, he was trained in the rituals of the laws regarding atonement for sin and coming to God on behalf of the people. As a scribe, he preserved and passed on the Scriptures and explained them to the people. Many of the priests also became scribes, since there was no temple – nor any rituals – in Babylon.
There were 3 returns of exiles to Babylon:
– 538BC… led by Zerubbabel, as per King Cyrus of Persia
– 458BC… led by Ezra, as per King Artaxerxes of Persia
– 445BC… led by Nehemiah, as per King Artaxerxes of Persia
I. Ezra’s Focus (Ezra 7) See v.6-10.
Ezra is not really introduced until ch.7 of his own book! He was a priest of Aaron’s line, and was well-versed in God’s Law. It was this knowledge of God’s Law that qualified him for what God needed him to do.
In Ezra, we see:
– a man with a good reputation,
– a skilled teacher and student of God’s Word, and
– a man who put what he learned into practice.
80years after the first wave of exiles went back to Jerusalem, under King Cyrus, a second wave was sent, under King Artaxerxes, led by Ezra. The king promised Ezra could take any Jews who wanted to go, and any finances they needed to finish the work there would be provided.
II. Ezra’s Faith (Ezra 8)
See v.15. Ezra gathered the volunteers… and noticed there were no Levites! So, he recruited some… knowing they had a teaching task ahead of them.
See v.21,23. Before they took one step of their 4-month journey, Ezra called for a time of prayer and fasting.
See v.31. It was a dangerous journey, but, 4 months later, they arrived in Jerusalem. Imagine what that first look must have looked like to them. The temple had been completed, but the rest of the city was still pretty much a wreck.
Ezra had faith that God would see them through the completion of the job God had given him. And, he also had faith in the people around him to do what God had given them to do.
Upon their arrival, Ezra did 3 things:
– He delivered the gold & silver to the temple (v.33,34)
– He made sacrifices to God on behalf of the people… those with him and those he found when he got there (v.35)
– He handed the letters of task & authority to the officials on site (v.36)
III. Ezra’s Finding (Ezra 9)
See v.1-5. Ezra heard the report, then he responded… with severe mourning. Then he prayed…
IV. Ezra’s Effect (Ezra 10)
– The Repentance (v.1,2)
– The Resolve to quit (v.3-5,9-12)
– The Record of those who followed through
V. Ezra’s Explanation of God’s Word (Neh. 8)
See v.1,6,8,9. Eventually the temple would be restored, the rituals would be restarted, and the walls would be rebuilt (under Nehemiah). But, that didn’t mean all was well. Nehemiah called for a public reading of God’s Word… hoping for revival. Ezra was the one appointed the task of reading the law… for 6 hours every day for 7 days!
This would result in a revival that would spread to the whole nation… the final Jewish awakening until that which will come in the latter days!
Ezra’s final mention is at the dedication of the wall in Neh. 12:36.
* Your greatest accomplishment is a growing relationship with God!
– God’s Word is God’s Word!
Do you believe God’s Word is God’s Word? God’s Word to you? God’s Word for you? Is there a part of Scripture you choose to ignore because you don’t understand it? Or because it doesn’t agree with the way you want to live?
– Studying and obeying God’s Word is a must for spiritual growth!
How much of a priority is the Bible in your life? And Prayer? And Worship? What changes could you make to guard your time alone with God?
– Trust God with all areas of your life!
Are there any areas of your life you are not trusting to God? Financial? Physical? Mental? Emotional? Spiritual?
You can read Ezra’s story in Ezra 7-10; Nehemiah 8-12.