Title: Ezra and Exiles Return
(H) Highlight verse: "For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and his statutes for Israel" Ezra 7:10
(E) Explain: In todays passage there are a lot of names mentioned, but the two that we need to remember are Ezra and Artaxerxes. Ezra was a Jewish exile who was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses. Artaxerxes was the king of Persia. It was during Artaxerxes reign that he commissioned Ezra to assemble people and return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. Not only was he sending Ezra and the Jewish people back, but he was giving them money, resources, and supplies for the building and worship to resume once again. Artaxerxes wrote a decree telling all that Ezra was to be allowed to essentially do what he wants in regards to rebuilding the temple.
On their journey Ezra proclaimed a fast at the river Ahava. It was here that the men fasted and petitioned God for protection. God heard their petition and protected them.
(A) Application: I have said this time and again, when God wants to accomplish his will, He will do whatever it takes to get the job done. In todays account we see this is true. God was calling his people back to their land to rebuild the temple and establish temple worship once again. By all accounts this seemed like an impossibility... The Jews were in exile and the temple was in ruins, how would they ever accomplish such an impossible task? God, in his sovereignty, puts it on the heart of the king of their captor to allow them to go back and beuild the temple and the king foots the bill. That is truly amazing! During the time God directs them and protects them as they go about fulfilling his call to return home once again.
This should be encouraging to all of us as we read the text. In this account we see that God always fulfills his promise. I sometimes feel like a broken record because I say that so often, but the truth is shown time after time that God will finish what he starts. God has begun a good work in His people and He will faitfully complete it. Rejoice in this truth. Whatever God has started in your life, family, work, church etc. He will bring it to completion.
(R) Respond: Lord in my anxiety and worry I will take comfort in knowing that you will accomplish what you have started in my life. May I rest in this truth today.