Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ezra-The King Wanted To Help Us--Can You Believe It?

By Mary Vee
Ezra 7

From Ezra's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Ezra. I have spent many years studying the Law of Moses. 

I have been a captive in the land of Babylon along with many other Jews. Our land had been conquered almost seventy years ago and we were brought here to serve the Babylonian people.

But there is a new king on the throne. And time has passed. Artaxerxes was the king of this land now called Persia. I had many opportunities to speak with him.

What I found especially exciting was seeing God work in the king's heart. A king who did not believe in God. 

Artaxerxes wanted people to occupy Israel. He wanted them to grow their crops, rebuild cities. Live. Worship a God he didn't know. 

As long as the Israelites remained strong, their cities would be like a wall between Egypt and him. This way, if Egypt decided to start a war against Babylon, they would first have to conquer Israel.

So, the king gave me everything I asked. God blessed us by causing Artaxerxes to want to help. In fact, King Artaxerxes gave me a letter to carry with me on my journey. This is what he wrote in the letter:

I decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including priests and Levites, who wish to go to Jerusalem with you, may go. I am sending you and my seven advisers to teach the people the Law of your God, which is in your hand. Take with you the silver and gold that the king and his advisers have freely given to the God of Israel the silver and gold from those remaining in Babylon. Use these as an offering to your God for the temple of your God in Jerusalem. 

Use what ever money is left over in anyway your God says. Be sure to deliver all the articles given to you for the temple worship. And if you need any more money for the temple, you may have what you need from my royal treasurer.

I am ordering all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates to give whatever Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law of God of heaven, asks. Whatever the God of heaven has ordered, let it be done for His temple. You may not impose any taxes on any priest or worker of the house of God.

And you, Ezra are to appoint leaders and judges using the wisdom God has given you. You are to teach any who do not know the laws of your God. Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must be punished by death, banishment, lose their property, or put in prison.

This is what I, Artaxerxes decree.

And this is where the king's letter ended. Amazing, right?  I am so very happy.

sources: New International Version, New King James Version  

1. Why did King Artaxerxes want to help Israel?
2. What did he give them?
3. What was his gift to be used for?
4. What could Ezra do if they needed more money?
5. Who did the king say the people had to obey?

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