“Artaxerxes, King of Kings, to Ezra the priest, a scholar of the Teaching of the God-of-Heaven.

Peace. I hereby decree that any of the people of Israel living in my kingdom who want to go to Jerusalem, including their priests and Levites, may go with you. You are being sent by the king and his seven advisors to carry out an investigation of Judah and Jerusalem in relation to the Teaching of your God that you are carrying with you. You are also authorized to take the silver and gold that the king and his advisors are giving for the God of Israel, whose residence is in Jerusalem, along with all the silver and gold that has been collected from the generously donated offerings all over Babylon, including that from the people and the priests, for The Temple of their God in Jerusalem. Use this money carefully to buy bulls, rams, lambs, and the ingredients for Grain-Offerings and Drink-Offerings and then offer them on the Altar of The Temple of your God in Jerusalem. You are free to use whatever is left over from the silver and gold for what you and your brothers decide is in keeping with the will of your God. Deliver to the God of Jerusalem the vessels given to you for the services of worship in The Temple of your God. Whatever else you need for The Temple of your God you may pay for out of the royal bank…I authorize you, Ezra, exercising the wisdom of God that you have in your hands, to appoint magistrates and judges so they can administer justice among all the people of the land across the Euphrates who live by the Teaching of your God. Anyone who does not know the Teaching, you teach them.Anyone who does not obey the Teaching of your God and the king must be tried and sentenced at once—death, banishment, a fine, prison, whatever.


Blessed be God, the God-of-Our-Fathers, who put it in the mind of the king to beautify The Temple of God in Jerusalem! Not only that, he caused the king and all his advisors and influential officials actually to like me and back me. My God was on my side and I was ready to go. And I organized all the leaders of Israel to go with me.” Ezra 7:12-20, 25-28 (MSG)



Ezra traveled to Babylon from Jerusalem to be granted permission by the king to rebuild the community in Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been torn apart by war, and most of the people had been exiled. The people remaining would have been vulnerable to enemies and animals threatening their lives. As Ezra made this trip, he needed the king to grant him permission, but he was given so much more. Not only was he given permission to continue the work in Jerusalem, he was given the resources and people to contribute to the project. The king allowed the exiled people to return to Jerusalem on their own accord. He mandated that funding be designated for Ezra to take with him, and Ezra would have discretion in spending the funds. In financing the repairs for the Temple, Ezra basically had a blank check connected to the king’s treasury. Furthermore, the king was not only going to finance the project, he was going to take care of the people’s physical needs. If anyone was opposed to God’s law, they would face serious punishment. As Ezra was being showered with blessings, he immediately acknowledged God’s Spirit at work in the king’s heart and the favor God had given him. The task that Ezra faced when he arrived back in Jerusalem was significant. However, God’s favor and provision gave Ezra courage to not only ask the king for permission but to carry out the mission God had placed in his heart.


God’s hand on Ezra was a defining factor in his life. In our lives, God’s hand on our lives impacts how we carry out the mission He has placed in our hearts. It can be easy to think that our relationship with God is confined to a prayer time or a church service. Yet, when God’s hand is resting on our lives, it affects our decisions and our ability to overcome fear that could hold us back from living in our calling. Maybe you have experienced God’s favor in a decision you made, a relationship, a new business endeavor, a home you purchased, or a career transition. When we allow God to orchestrate our lives, He aligns the timing of events and the coordination of people to culminate in accomplishing His purpose. In Ezra’s life, it seems that the king was overly willing to help, but we don’t know the backstory of how God had been working in the king’s heart. We don’t know all of the conversations and events that prepared the king to be generous. God was going before Ezra. When we are walking in the purposes of God, we come to understand that God is going before us in a special way. He is not leading us somewhere He hasn’t been. As you experience His favor, walk in courage in the mission He has called you to live.


Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

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About Hona Amer

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