Background:Once the decree from Darius was received, ".. the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia."(Ezra 6:14). The Bible describes the priest Ezra under who's guidance everything happened. If we want to learn how God works through lives of His people, there are lessons we can learn from Ezra's life. What can we learn from a priest's life? Well the Word of God calles us a royal priesthood and we are encouraged to build our Lord's temple His body.
- Dedicated to the Word of God-"this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given." Also verse 9 and 10 say "the gracious hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel."How well versed with the Word of God are we as the royal priesthood?
- As we continue in obedience to God, God's hand provides-"The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him." I have heard earlier from many preachers, when God gives us an assignment, He gives us all the necessary equipment to complete it too. So God did with Ezra and all of us, who walk in obedience to God's will.
- Knowing where our help comes from-"27 Praise be to the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put it into the king's heart to bring honor to the house of the LORD in Jerusalem in this way 28 and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king's powerful officials. Because the hand of the LORD my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me." Ezra knew exactly where he had come from and how he had reached there. He was grounded on the fact that he had been able to accomplish all that he had, ONLY through God's hand that worked in his life. Many times ministries fail after a good long run, because the leader starts to think he did everything, he suffered for building the church and so on.
Conclusion: As Ezra lived in obedience through the Word of God, he saw God's hand working through him, he saw God's favour upon him, so also as we walk in obedience to our calling, we will see God's hand working in our lives and His divine favour resting on us. Let us therefore remember that the key to a fruitful life is not the extent of our ability but the extent of our dependence on God for the very existence of life.
John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."