I command all the treasury officials in the province of West Euphrates to provide promptly for Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law of the God of Heaven, everything he asks you for. Ezra 7:21
For many of us, Ezra and Nehemiah are somewhat unknown and even strange figures, but we could justly call them master builders for the Lord. They not only rebuilt Jerusalem and the temple, but also “rebuilt” God’s people after the return from exile. The two books of Chronicles and the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were, at some stage, seen as one unit and was probably completed somewhere between 450 and 400 BC. These books together depict a time span of about 80 years.
There was more than one group of exiles returning to Jerusalem, the first already in the time of Cyrus. They started rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and the temple, but the nations around then thwarted these plans and pulled down the walls again. Later on, in about 444 BC, during the reign of Artaxerxes, Nehemiah was in the capital city, Susa, when his brother Hanani came to told him about what happened to the first group who returned to Israel. They were suffering a great deal and all the work that had begun, had come to nothing.
Nehemiah got permission from King Artaxerxes to go to Jerusalem and, at a later stage, was appointed administrator in Judah. He also got financial support from the king to rebuild the walls and temple. (See our Verse-a-day devotion about the king’s support) In spite of continued attacks, the walls and the temple were finished, although Nehemiah had to arm those who did the work.
In Ezra 7:6
we read, “Ezra was a scholar with a thorough knowledge of the Law which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given to Moses.” He was also a priest and played a big role in bringing back the worship of the true God of Israel and helped to re-establish the temple rituals. In Nehemiah 8
, you can read about how Ezra read the scroll containing the Law to the people of Judah.
Two men with different talents but only one purpose. An administrator and a scholar of the Law who were called by God to settle his people in Judah again. How important this settlement was, we see it more than 400 years later when the Messiah was born from the descendants of the exiles who returned with the help of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to use the talents you gave me to make your kingdom more visible in this world. Please show me where you want to use me. Amen