Ezra 7:6: “This Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.”

April 27th, 2017 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Fifty-seven years after the temple was completed, another group of exiles returned to Jerusalem. The new king of Persia, Artaxerxes, commissioned Ezra, a priest and scribe, to go to Jerusalem and reestablish the Law of Moses. One ancient Jewish tradition holds that Ezra had memorized the 5 books of Moses so perfectly he could write them out word for word from memory. Ezra understood that his efforts were not being blessed because of his clever leadership but solely because “the hand of the Lord his God was upon him.” This phrase is repeated two more times in this chapter and three more times in Ezra 8, emphasizing that God arranged favor for Ezra before the king. Everything Ezra requested the king agreed to, providing him with all he and the other exiles needed to travel safely.

The Jews had spent 490 years in the Promised Land but had wandered away from a dependency on God, and because of that they were taken into captivity in Babylon. Ezra and the other exiles were now making the journey from captivity back to the Promised Land, and their path lay through a land filled with the enemy. Sustained by the hand of God, they were strengthened and protected all along the way. This story serves as an analogy for our own lives. We can expect the same kind of blessings and protection from the Lord when after being in the spirit-filled life, our faith becomes frail and we stumble into captivity but are making a concerted effort to get back to Him. He takes our puny, flawed human efforts and amplifies them. If we turn back toward Him today, He will turn toward us. If we put our hand in His, He will direct our paths. Blessings await the child of God who simply calls upon the name of the Lord.

“LORD, we confess and repent, turning to You again. Cleanse us, use us, fill us, and bless others through us, we ask in Jesus’ name.”