God’s Renewing Word of Thankfulness and Praise
Ezra 7:1-10: In today’s reading, the story has now jumped from the completion of the Temple toward the end of the sixth century (516 B.C.) to the middle of the fifth century (458 B.C.), and we are introduced to Ezra, a priest and an expert in the Law. He was also in a position of high favor in the court of the Persian emperor, Artaxerxes, during the time following the Babylonian captivity when Jerusalem was rebuilt. Artaxerxes gives Ezra permission to return to Jerusalem along with many Jewish leaders and their families.
EZRA ARRIVES IN JERUSALEM
7 Many years later, when Artaxerxes was emperor of Persia, there was a man named Ezra. He traced his ancestors back to Aaron, the High Priest, as follows: Ezra was the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah,2 son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub,3 son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth,4 son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki,5 son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron.
6-7 Ezra was a scholar with a thorough knowledge of the Law which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to Moses. Because Ezra had the blessing of the Lord his God, the emperor gave him everything he asked for. In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra set out from Babylonia for Jerusalem with a group of Israelites which included priests, Levites, Temple musicians, Temple guards, and workers.8-9 They left Babylonia on the first day of the first month, and with God’s help they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month.10 Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.
TODAY’S KEY VERSE: EZRA 7:10
Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the LORD, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.
How is Ezra described? Who was his earliest ancestor? Why was it important for Ezra to teach the laws and regulations to the people of Israel? Are laws and regulations important for communities of faith today? If so, why?
Holy God, bless all communities of faith as they seek to nurture their members in faith. Guide me in the way of your truth and help me to grow in the knowledge of your teachings. Amen.
Ezra 7:11-28: Ezra receives a document from Emperor Artaxerxes.