Focus verses: Ezra 8:14-36
This is the second trek of Israelites back to Jerusalem. The temple has already been rebuilt, but this expedition is to help repopulate the city. The king of Persia, Artaxerxes, may have political and security reasons for wanting the people of Israel between him and Egypt. But it is known that he had a respect for the Israelites and their God.
Ezra made preparation for this journey with fasting and prayer. The people assembled for the trip – and camped at the starting point for three days. It doesn’t say specifically, but I would imagine that those three days were spent mainly in fasting and prayer.
Despite the favor that the king has granted them in his letter, the people recognized their need for God and His protection on their journey. Ezra made a point of not asking for military escort from the king. He put his faith in God.
They carried an immense treasure for the temple. Ezra told the men carrying the treasure that both it and they were consecrated to the Lord. It was an awesome burden and privilege. Please note that the articles were weighed at the beginning of the journey and again when they reached the temple.
All this is interesting history. But what does it have to do with us today?
Every undertaking is a journey of some sort. It doesn’t matter how favorable the possibilities are if we haven’t bathed this course of action with fasting and prayer.
We carry the treasure of the Good News of redemption. We will also be asked to account for how we carried that news to the hurting world around us.
We need to be sure that we begin with prayer so that we end well.
Help us to learn from Your people in scripture. Breathe life into these words and help us to take them to heart that we might implement Your principles in our own lives.