King Artaxerxes addressed Ezra as “the teacher of the laws of the God of heaven”. He recognized Ezra’s God and the importance of keeping the laws of the Jewish people. His recognition included decrees to keep them safe in their travels, financial provision, and funds for offerings or sacrifices to God to be placed on the altar of the Temple when they arrived in Jerusalem. He also offered a plan B just in case they ran short of money for the construction from the royal treasury. The king decreed support from treasurers in other provinces, and declared that no priest, Levite, choir member, gatekeeper, Temple attendant, or other worker in the Temple shall be required to pay taxes.
A friend of mine reading Ezra with me shared thoughts on Chapter 7:
I’m reading Chapter 7 and don’t want to leave!!! Such encouraging words that a foreign King would show such esteem for the God of heaven!!! And, Ezra was ready to accept the king’s generosity and bravely journey to Jerusalem!
Encouragement followed by action and provision gives us courage!
the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.
The king had authority, power, and the resources to support Ezra’s request to rebuild the Temple. There was no begging, grant writing sessions, what if’s, or delays. Ezra asked and the king provided. The king was not ignorant of the Jewish laws–he knew Ezra’s character and was influenced by the Jewish people. Ezra was appointed the spiritual leader by the king and was instructed to use the wisdom God had given him to select and appoint judges and other officials.
Ezra recognized the prodigious support of the king and exclaimed
Well, praise the Lord God of our ancestors, who made the king want to beautify the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem!
Ezra recognized the favor of God
And praise God for demonstrating such loving-kindness to me by honoring me before the king and his Council of Seven and before all of his mighty princes!
Ezra reminds us that it is God who ordains and directs–He is sovereign. Ezra gives God the glory
I was given great status because the Lord my God was with me…
Because of Ezra’s character, his obedience to God, and the support from the king, Ezra persuaded some of the leaders of Israel to return with him to Jerusalem. Encouragement is a ripple effect. It’s far reaching and produces life-changing events.
I agree with my friend wholeheartedly! God’s provision through others brings encouragement and gives us the courage to take risks and follow the leading of God in our lives.
Who can you encourage today?
We’ve seen through Ezra that obedience to God influences, and our God is sovereign.
Where has the sovereignty of God worked in your God story? How has obedience to His Word brought favor or a sense of peace in your life?
What request is laying dormant in your soul, and through the Spirit’s leading, if you only but ask, God will answer. Is there an area in your life that needs more attention-act of obedience-that would support this request?