Ezra 7 – Enter Ezra

Between chapter 6 and chapter 7, a period of 60 years passed. We know this because of the reigns of the kings mentioned (6.22, 7.1). Now Artaxerxes is reigning, the son of Xerxes found in the book of Esther. In these 60 years between chapter 6 and chapter 7, then, the events of the book of Esther took place. For a Day by Day walk through Esther, click here. 

It is in chapter 7 that we meet the title character of the book, so to speak, Ezra. We see that he is a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses (v.5), that he took the four month, 900 mile journey along the river from Babylon to Jerusalem with some of the people (v.7), that he was a priest, a scribe, a student, a doer of the law, a teacher, and that he was sent by the king (vv.6-14). He was trusted to both teach and look after the finances (v.17, 20), and to appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River (v.25). 

Despite this long and luscious introduction, the royally-decreed authority and responsibility, and the positions of leadership he held over God’s people, at the end of chapter 7 we see that Ezra knew where all of this came from,

Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who so moved in the heart of the king to so honor the temple of the Lord which is in Jerusalem! 

He has also conferred his favor on me before the king, his advisers, and all the influential leaders of the king. 

I gained strength as the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

(Ezra 7.27-28, NET)

Ezra knows that it was the Lord God of our fathers who so moved in the heart of the king to so honor the temple of the Lord, not Ezra and his long list of credentials. This right and proper perspective that it was God who has also conferred his favor on Ezra, and that it is through God that Ezra has gained strength is so important. It sets up Ezra as a leader that people will want to follow, a leader who knows that yes, he needs to work hard (v.10), but that ultimately it would be from the Lord that true favor and strength would come. 

Is the same true for you? Do you hope to gain influence, leadership, prosperity, and favor due to your own efforts, or are you trusting and acknowledging that they come from the Lord God of our fathers? Ezra is a great model for so many things, but perhaps the most important is for his perspective on where his favor and strength come from, 

Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who so moved in the heart of the king to so honor the temple of the Lord which is in Jerusalem! 

He has also conferred his favor on me before the king, his advisers, and all the influential leaders of the king. 

I gained strength as the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

(Ezra 7.27-28, NET, emphasis added)

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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