“He had arranged to leave Babylon on April 8, the first day of the new year, and he arrived at Jerusalem on August 4, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.” – Ezra 7:9-10.
Ezra is the story of how God takes a defeated people and moves supernaturally to send them back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. Solomon’s temple was destroyed and laid in ruin for decades. God raised up a remnant to return to Israel. God moved the heart of the Persian King, Cyrus, to allow the Israelites in Babylon who desired to go back to Israel and rebuild the temple.
The Phrase in Ezra, “the hand of God” sums up what was happening. The Lord was in this return. It was part of His master plan. “This Ezra was a scribe who was well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to the people of Israel. He came up to Jerusalem from Babylon, and the king gave him everything he asked for, because the gracious hand of the Lord his God was on him.” (Ezra 7:6) Ezra 5:5 says, “But because their God was watching over them, the leaders of the Jews were not prevented from building until a report was sent to Darius and he returned his decision.”
Ezra completed his journey, and the vulnerable exiles arrived safely in Jerusalem, according to “the good hand of his God upon him.” It is evident as you read the entire story that follows in chapters 7 and 8 that God’s blessing was upon Ezra. God’s care, provision, and protection were with Ezra and those returning to Judah with him. “Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.” (Ezra 7:10)
Ezra had first, prepared his heart. To set the heart is to determine, to devote, and to dedicate our whole being to something. He sought the law of the Lord. To seek the Law of the Lord is to invest time and effort in studying the Bible. We seek to know the mind, the heart, and the ways of God through His Word. The hand of God was upon Ezra because he was determined to know and understand God’s Word. Ezra was committed to doing the Law of the Lord. James taught that to be a hearer of the Word without being a doer of the Word is to be self-deceived (James 1:22). The hand of God was upon Ezra because he was determined to obey God’s Law.
The story of Ezra with rebuilding the temple is an example of how obstacles can be overcome when God’s moving hand is behind His people. There is power when the “hand of God” is with His people.
- Do we need the “hand of God” to fulfill our dreams?
- How do we go about rebuilding the temple of our lives?