Highlights In Today's Reading:
The flesh, the devil, and the world hinder the rebuilding of the Temple, but God overrules (6:1-15). Joyously, Passover is celebrated (6:22)! Here comes Ezra, a scribe and priest (7:6). Go back many generations (I Chr. 6:3-15). Ezra is well-favored. Know why (7:10)?
There is very little recorded about the Jews in Jerusalem between the completion of the Temple and the appearance of Ezra about 60 years later. The Book of Esther, however, provides some information about the condition of the Jews in Persia who remained there from the Babylonian captivity; and the Book of Malachi provides insight into the spiritual indifference that had developed during that time in Jerusalem.
In the interval between Zerubbabel's rule and the coming of Ezra from Persia (formerly Babylon), it is no surprise that the hand of the Lord his God (was) upon him (7:6,9,28) to meet the critical spiritual corruptness that had developed in Jerusalem.
Ezra was born in Babylonian captivity — a descendant of Aaron, Israel's first high priest (7:1-5; I Chr. 6:3-15). He was also a scribe in the Law of Moses (Ezra 7:6) and had become known as a ready scribe — one who knew the Scripture so well that he was an expert teacher with a passionate desire to see the people of God living in full accord with His Word.
Not only did Ezra study the Word of God (7:6), but he had a deep desire that, being the covenant ones of God, the people recognized the necessity of obedience to obtain His blessing (7:10; 9:3-4; 10:5). Added to that, he depended upon God in prayer and fasting (8:21; 9:5-15). He also recognized the sovereignty of God and gave Him all the glory, saying: Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the House of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. . . . And I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me (7:27-28).
The Word of God becomes our inner strength as the Holy Spirit enlightens and guides us as we read it. And, as we accept it by faith, He then enables us to teach it to others.
As we put aside self-interests, the fruit of the Spirit will show from our lives and bless others. We will have a sincere love for others and be useful to our Lord Jesus Christ. Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (II Pet. 1:5-7).
Thought for Today:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand (John 10:27-28).
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 (Heb. 4:15). Leaven is symbolic of sin.
6:1 house of the rolls = building where records were kept on scrolls; 6:4 king's house = royal treasury; 6:15 Adar compares with Feb/Mar; 7:21 the river = Euphrates.
Pray for Radio Sri Lanka Broadcasts sponsored by Mary Anne Weikel • Arabic, English, & Spanish International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. V.R. Stuebing Jr. • International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Mrs. Ann Avant • Staff: Barbara Bivens • Government Officials: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD) and Rep. Solomon Ortiz (TX) • Country: Nigeria (113.8 million) in western Africa • Major languages: English and Hausa • Government permits all types of religious activity • 45% Muslim (largely Sunni); 40% Christian; 9% Indigenous; 6% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Diligently seek the Lord in prayer and He will bless your efforts (Heb. 11:6).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:31