In Today's Scripture Reading:
Darius' decree to complete the Temple; dedication of Temple; Passover restored
The prophets Haggai and Zechariah reminded the Israelites in Jerusalem that the real reason the Lord's work went unfinished was because their first interest was in building their own homes. These anointed men boldly preached the Word of God and inspired the people to rebuild the Temple: And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah . . . according to the Commandment of the God of Israel (Ezra 6:14).
Nothing is recorded about the Jews in Jerusalem between the time of Haggai and Zechariah's ministry and the coming of Ezra from Persia about 60 years later. Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Zechariah had all died leaving the next generation to grow up without spiritual leadership.
Ezra was born during the Babylonian captivity. He was a descendant of Aaron, Israel's first high priest (7:1-5; I Chronicles 6:3-15). The key to Ezra's great effectiveness in accomplishing the will of God is clear: For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek (study) the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes (laws) and judgments (what God declares is right and wrong) (Ezra 7:10).
Note carefully the threefold key to Ezra's great success: Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord. The word prepared implies a steadfast effort to know all of God's Word. The second qualification for the Lord's blessings upon his life was that Ezra committed himself to do it (obey the Law). And third, he planned to teach its statutes and judgments.
Ezra was committed to seeking, doing, and teaching God's Word. This should be a reminder that, if we want God to bless our lives, we too must set our hearts upon the whole counsel of God. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench (put out, extinguish) all the fiery darts (arrows, shots) of the wicked. . . . Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:16-17).
Ezra is an example of how God will use anyone who will take His Word seriously, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15).
Through the Feast of Unleavened (Yeast-free) Bread (Ezra 6:22). Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35), and He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Leaven is symbolic of sin.
6:1 house of the rolls =/i> building where records were kept on scrolls; 6:4 king's house =/i> royal treasury; 6:15 Adar compares with Feb/Mar; 7:21 the river =/i> Euphrates.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite Government Officials: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD) and Rep. Solomon Ortiz (TX) Country: St. Vincent and The Grenadines (120,000) in the Lesser Antilles of the eastern Caribbean Major languages: English and French patois Religious freedom 50% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic; 2% spiritist Prayer Suggestion: Wives, ask the Lord to give you a submissive spirit to your husbands as if it were to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 19:7