June 21, 2010, "Ezra"
Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell
~ The Book Of Ezra ~
I began to yearn, thirst and hunger for more as Buddy spoke a message yesterday in regards to Nehemiah. I was amazed to find that Nehemiah's heart and yearning was to give glory to God in all that he did.
This hunger and thirst to have a heart like Nehemiah, led me to pray to God for a glimpse of His insight, in which I was led to first read Ezra. Have you ever read the Book of Ezra? I admit, I had not but just here and there. One thing I am learning is that the Bible is not for casual readers (as my husband says). It can be easy to take things out of context or to grab that which makes us feel good to appease that self-help humanistic ego that we tend to gravitate to by default.
I want to share as the Lord leads in parts of what I learned today. I know every moment we read this amazing written Word, which is only a tiny glimpse, we receive more and more of the amazing heart of God. I love the endless layers of wisdom that come forth every time we read.
Just take this walk with me back into history for a moment:
In the first year of King Cyrus' reign over Persia, the Spirit of God stirred up King Cyrus and with that stirring came forth a proclamation; but not only a spoken proclamation but also a written decree.
1.) In doing so he realized, remembered and reminded himself and others that God had given him all the kingdoms of the earth.
2.) He realized, remembered and reminded himself and others that God had charged him to build God a house at Jerusalem in Judah
3.) He spoke and wrote a blessing to all of God's people and then allowed the once captive children of Israel to go up to Jerusalem in Judah and rebuild the House of the Lord - to notify all and himself that God is God!
4.) There was a 'benefit package' to all the survivors of the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews that traveled to Jerusalem.
*The men of that place must assist the survivors with silver and gold ~ notice not for their own prosperity but for the glory of God.
*They were also to be assisted with goods and beasts ~ but not only that, they were also given freewill offerings (donations). For who? Themselves? No, for the House of God in Jerusalem.
5.) After the written and spoken proclamation from King Cyrus who was stirred by the Spirit of God the head men of the forefathers of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites along with all those whose spirits God had stirred up to rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.
6.) The 'bystanders' around provided them aid with the following:
*Vessels of silver
*Vessels of silver
*Precious things on top of all that was willingly and freely offered or donated.
7.) The king didn't stop at proclaiming and writing what God had stirred up in him - he then brought out the vessels of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought from Jerusalem and had put in the house of his gods.
8.) The king was organized and professional in all things (an attribute of God and who God is...the God of order). King Cyrus had his treasurer count to the governor (Zerubbabel), this is what they numbered:
*30 basins of gold
*1,000 basins of silver
* 29 sacrificial dishes
* 30 gold bowls
*410 sort of silver bowls
*1,000 other vessels
All the vessels of gold and silver were 5,400.
Now that's some major inventory!
Governor Zerubbabel brought all that was counted with the survivors of the Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem.
There were many who went into exile by King Nebuchadnezzar. In Ezra 2, you can see who all followed Zerubbabel out to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, but then I noticed in verse 59 a very sad moment. This moment is when the captives who came from different regions when delivered into captivity; they could not show records of their genealogy, in which they were excluded from the priesthood as ceremonially unclean. The governor told them that they should not eat of the most holy things until they could find a priest with two particular stones in their breastplate (Urim and Thummim) so they could know God's will in the matter. Apparently, when the priest had these stones in their breastplates they had the capability to receive revelations from God ('seer'ic stones, Exodus 28:30) .
I could go and on with the details, but as you read the Book of Ezra, notice the provisions that were made available to them, revealing the hand of God! All of the people going with Zerubbabel were 42,360. Of course there were more which the numbers are broken down in Ezra 2:64-69.
In the seventh month, according to the Ancient Israel calendar, it would most likely be the latter part of September into the beginning of October, the people gathered together in unity as 'one man' (Ezra 3:1). Morning and evening they offered burnt offerings to the Lord and they did accordingly in regards to the Feast of Tabernacles and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the ordinances, as each day's duty required. They on purpose and intentionally did as the law required for they feared God! Notice the key: they feared God! Provision was constant as things were prepared, when they appointed the Levites to oversee the work of the Lord's house, and they laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord.
I love this part, they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever toward Israel. And all teh people shouted with a great shout when they praise the Lord, because the foundation of the house of th Lord was laid! Many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first house [Solomon's Temple], when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice, thought many shouted aloud with joy. This part is what gets me, they were so loud both in the weeping and the joy, that you could not distinguish one from the other. They were so loud as they wept and rejoiced that their sound was heard from a great distance!
I stop here today, but I pray that you read the whole book of Ezra and not just read it, but study the amazing power of our God and how much these people reverenced Him as they utilized the riches for God's glory and did it in unity for God's glory and honor! You will be amazed of the defeats and triumph in this book alone! Tomorrow, if I am led, I will further write that which has been studied.