Ezra 7:27-28 “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 that extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counselors, and before all the kings mighty princes. 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 with me.”
Ezra was a scribe, a gentle man steeped in the Word of God: Moses books, Joshua, Judges, Chronicles, and books of the Kings. The Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and a few others. These were his love.
And as such, he was commissioned by the king of Persia to go and teach the Word and law of God to the remnant in Israel.(It seemed as if this was Ezra’s request to go)
Ezra 7:6 “This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.”
Ezra 7:10 “And Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statues and judgements.”
(Notice here it says Ezra sought the law of the Lord, so he could do it…this was not a head knowledge only; but a heart loving the Lord and His Word, so he could obey Him.)
In the kings mind, to honor the God of Israel would bring help for his kingdom. He was right.
Ezra 7:23 “Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?”
So he commissioned Ezra to go and take Levites to go through all the land of Israel and teach the laws of their God.
(You will notice Ezra often speaks about the “good hand of God”. His joy at God’s help and deliverance is gently spoken of again and again: [7:6, 7:9, 7:28, 8:18, 8:22, 8:31] under that phrase.)
So Ezra gathers together those offerings for the house of God,and the Levites needed to teach all that had returned from captivity to Israel.
Great job! For one so devoted to God and His law. This should be wonderful; to be back in the land and setting up the worship of God in Israel.
So he begins the job with the gentle energy. And right away he shows great courage when he refuses to ask for a convoy.
Ezra 8:22-23 “For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all of them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake him.
So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.”
The gentle grace of prayer, worked. (As it always does for those who truly seek God’s honor.)
Making sure of the task, he sets people to weigh and oversee everything.
It is a four month trip;
When they get to Israel Ezra finds out about the sin of the people…and does not act in the energy of the flesh and lash out, but in repentance for all his people (and, yes, he includes himself though he has not sinned in this respect) he places himself at the door of the temple–not inside, and weeps, and prays.
Ezra. 9:6 “And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.”
Ezra 10:1 “Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.”
How the Holy Spirit uses his crying and prayers!
Reformation is suggested and done, because of him.
Ezra 10:3 “Now therefore let us make covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.”
His devotion to God and His word, brings the repentance needed; then the blessing.
Later we find him in the days of the festivals teaching the people about the Law, and in the praises of the day.
Nehemiah 8:1, 5-6, 9-10, 13,18 ” And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.
And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto the Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.
Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.”
Ezra was a man of God looking for the good of the people of God.
Never in anger; but in the gentle personality that God had chosen to use, to tell of God’s word, show true repentance, and bring blessing (by both) to Israel.
“According to the good hand of his God upon him”
Ezra was a man who lived under the influence of his God. And wanted to share that influence. For remember he sought the law of God, so he could do it.
So can we.
Psalm 17:7 “Show thy marvelous loving kindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee for those that rise up against them.”