Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ezra-For the Sake of Our Children

By Mary Vee
Ezra 8

From Ezra's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Ezra. I have spent many years studying the Law of Moses while a slave in Babylon.

The king of Babylon has asked me to lead a group of Jews back to our homeland. He has given me the task to teach the Law of Moses to those living in Jerusalem.  

Apparently King Artaxerxes has decided that making Israel a good place for the Jews to live and worship our God is a good way to protect his kingdom from any surprise Egyptian attacks. He may think that is the reason, but I am convinced and praise God for His putting these thoughts into the heart of the king.

I must admit, the job seemed huge to me. I prayed and set my mind on doing the work. Although the king's invitation brought many Jews living in Babylon and willing to move back to our homeland, I didn't see any Levites, the chosen ones to work in the temple. 

I put out a notice for anyone interested in returning home to meet at the canal that flows toward Ahava. This was a river in Babylon near the Euphrates. Once everyone arrived, we camped for three days, hoping, and waiting... and still no one from the tribe of Levi showed. I sent messages to certain Levites who were good men of God and knowledgeable in the Law of Moses. I told them what to say to their brother Levites, hoping they could at least encourage some to go with us. It worked. They persuaded more than 250 Levite brothers to take the journey back to our homeland. 

I stood before all the men and women gathered at the river considering the instructions I would share. This would be a difficult journey. Most of us were born in this land of Persia as slaves. We had not seen the Promised Land given to our fathers by God. None of us really knew what to expect. Neither did we know if the journey would have hardships. We were leaving everything we knew behind. Everything. To go back to the land of our fathers and to build new lives in Jerusalem.

There, by the water's edge, I said, "Let us fast and humble ourselves before our God. Let's ask him for a safe journey for us and our children and all our possessions. I must tell you I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road because we had told the king 'The hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his anger is against all who turn away from him.' I am confident in our God that He will protect us."

Yes. God could protect us.

We continued to camp by the Ahaha canal to fast and ask our God about the journey. And He answered our prayer.  We should go. All of us.

That settled it. 

We were going home. To Jerusalem.

sources: New International Version, New King James Version  

1. What task did the king give to Ezra?
2. Who were called to meet at the Ahava Canal?
3. What did Ezra ask the people to do while there?
4. What answer did God give the people?
5. Where were they going?

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