A family tree displays our bloodline–our heritage. Who begot who, marriages, deaths, and in some cases, if we are blessed, we have stories recorded of amazing events. Chapter 7 of Ezra takes a detour to remind us of Ezra’s bloodline. Ezra was the son of Seriah, and many, many years before Seriah was born, a son was born in this same line by the name of Aaron, the chief priest. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was also the first High Priest of the Israelite priesthood.
Ezra had a great family influence and history that prepared him for the season of his religious leadership. The Jewish people were at a crossroads, and Ezra was their priest to lead them. Can you imagine him as a little boy hearing stories about Aaron and Moses and their deliverance from Egypt? Maybe Ezra drew strength from knowing that redemption and deliverance were a part of their story for many years. The Jewish community in Babylonian captivity were physically threatened and assimilating into a culture that took their eyes away from God and His plan for them.
Ezra was well versed in God’s Word.
As a Jewish religious leader, Ezra was well-versed in Jehovah’s laws which Moses had given to the people of Israel.
The knowledge of God’s Word and his position as Priest gave him the courage to ask the king to allow the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
The king granted the request
…for the Lord his God was blessing him (Ezra).
Who left with Ezra? God’s Word tells us that “many ordinary people” left Babylon to travel to Jerusalem. Yes, there were other priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and Temple workers; but, I love that God mentions the ordinary people. They left in the middle of March and arrived at Jerusalem in the month of August. They traveled for approximately five months, “for the Lord gave them a good trip”. The good trip was accredited to Ezra’s determination to study and obey the Word of God and to teach the Word to the people. They took the time to study God’s Word.
How is it that you, today, know God’s Word and His blessings? How far back can you go in your mind to someone on your family tree that took the time to know God’s Word, obey his commandments, and teach you or your children? Perhaps you are the first known family member to start a genealogy of a faith in Jesus, and a love for His Word?
The best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
That anonymous quote was spoken in a recent sermon I attended. It touched my soul and mind, and as I traveled a magnificent oak tree caught my eye. Indeed how magnificent it is that people I have never met saw fit to plant the seed of an oak tree, so that, I could be blessed in my generation by its shade and beauty.
Your child will one day be a grandparent. Your name will be like Aaron’s name-some place towards the end of the bloodline. Aaron had no idea that Ezra would be born, and his task to lead the people from Babylonian captivity. We do not know what our great, great-grandchildren will face in this world, but we can teach them by planting the seeds of God’s Word. We can start now to plant the oak tree.
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord. Psalm 102:18
The ordinary people left the influencing culture to follow God’s plan and obey His Word. In their ordinary, they became a part of history. Imagine all who came after them loving God and His Word. Imagine those who chose not to follow God despite the influence and knowledge (not everyone left Babylon to rebuild). It is a choice that all of us face. For some we face the decision with a heritage of oak tree planters, for others we are the first to plant.
God is calling His people on a “good trip” to a heavenly home. We are passing through.
Lord, God, we pray that you find us obedient to your Word, and that we would take the time to speak Your name and write Your Words for a future generation, so that a people not yet created may praise You. We may be miles into our journey, but God there are those who are new on the path who need to hear and know the faithfulness of Your Promises. Help us to be like Ezra and desire to rebuild and teach Your Word. Help us Lord not to be influenced by the culture around us but to know Your love and share it with others along the way.