Why the Lord’s hand was with Ezra – Introduction

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What are you fearful of?

Achluophobia – Fear of Darkness. Are you afraid of the dark? When the light is suddenly turned off, do you start imagining things that leaves you scared and in a panic? Are you scared of not being able to see anything in the dark and somehow feel as if you suddenly lost life? It’s as if you have lost the vibrant colors of life and everything is just dark and empty.

Acrophobia – fear of Heights. Are you afraid of looking down from a top storey building and seeing people so small, like they were ants? Some people even fear flying because they can’t stand the thought that they are way above the sky without anything to catch them if ever they fall. It may seem impossible come to think of it, but it just goes to show how our imagination can really play with us – when we allow it.

Antlophobia – Fear of Floods. Since flooding seems so common in Manila, it’s no wonder that there are people who are scared of going through another “Ondoy”. Just a few drops of rain can cause some people to panic and start evacuating to higher ground to avoid the floods. Personally, I don’t blame them since it’s really hard to keep still when you’ve experienced it and lost a lot during floods. It is only through faith in the Lord that we can surpass this and find peace.

Arachnophobia – Fear of Spiders. How about the fear of spiders? Do you normally see and catch spiders in your home? I’m not that scared of spiders – if they are small. But if ever I’ll see a big spider, a spider as big as my palm, I’ll probably get nervous and more cautious. But who wouldn’t right? I don’t want to turn into Spiderman. That would be too big of a responsibility. :-)

Or you may fear other things. As silly as it may sound, there are a lot of different “phobias” that can take hold of your heart – fear of men, fear of garlic, fear of children, and other crazy things. But we, as children of God, should be fearful of just one thing. We should fear the Lord. To fear the Lord does not necessarily mean to be scared of Him – scared in a sense that you don’t want to talk to Him or you don’t want to be with Him. But to fear him is to show deep respect and love to our God that we fear coming to a point that we are not pleasing to his sight. And part of fearing the Lord is to fear losing God’s hand in our lives.

What do I mean by God’s hand on our lives? It is only through the grace of God that he has his hand on us. When his hand is on us, everything that we do prospers and becomes successful. Not because you are worthy of this but because in the abundance of his grace, he has chosen to prosper you. God’s hand in your life can be noticed by other people. They see that everything you do becomes successful and they are drawn to you because they see something different in you. They see the greatness of God working in your life. Now who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t want that everything they do with their hands becomes blessed? When you plant your crops, you have an abundant harvest. When you serve the Lord, everyone just sees and glorifies God through your life. When you sell your harvest, people immediately buy it and stocks are suddenly out.

To fear the Lord is to fear losing God’s hand on your life. When you lose the hand of the Lord in your life, it’s because there is something terribly wrong. It can be a sin in your life that you haven’t asked forgiveness for. Or it can be because of disobedience, avoiding what God wants you to do. When you feel that you don’t have the hand of God in your life, it’s probably because the Lord has taken it away. There is something that he doesn’t agree with in your life. To fear the Lord is to fear not pleasing him which can result in him losing his hand or blessing in your life.

Let’s look at a man who had God’s hand in his life. Let’s study Ezra in the bible – He sought the word of God, He applied the word of God and He taught the word of God therefore, the Lord was with him and blessed him. Ezra 7:10.

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.

Seeing the word “for” means we need to go back and look for a connection. We will see the circumstances surrounding Ezra in verses 8 and 9.

Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. 

Just to share a background on Ezra, Ezra came from a long line of priests. He was  a descendant of the first high priest Aaron, who was the brother of Moses.

After these things, during the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest

We would see in verse 6 that Ezra was a scribe. But he wasn’t just any scribe, he was a skilled scribe. He knew the Law of Moses.

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.

The word “well-versed” means – diligent, hasty, ready. He was diligent in studying the law of Moses and he was ready to teach it anytime. This means that he clearly knew his role and he has gained knowledge and wisdom through the word of the Lord.

Ezra came from Bablyon. During this period, the King of Babylon took all of Judah and Israel into captivity (II Kings 24-25). The Babylonians got to Jerusalem and destroyed everything – the temple, the walls of the city, the fortress areas and anything of value. Everything was in chaos. The city was reduced to rubble while they marched back to Babylon with their captives and seized treasures. Now just imagine how terrifying of an experience captivity can be. When people are captured, they are forcibly taken away from their homes and their land and they are then made into slaves. They are then treated with disdain and abuse, which is exactly what happened to the Jews. Ezra was born from the Jews who were taken in captivity. It was only when Persia conquered Babylon that the Jews were allowed to return to their city. Ezra received special permission to return to Jerusalem. By the authority of the king of Persia—Artaxerxes himself—Ezra was sent back to the holy city of God. He was not only given the special permission to return but everything he could ever need was also provided to him. He was fully supported by the King.

13 Now I decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including priests and Levites, who volunteer to go to Jerusalem with you, may go. 14 You are sent by the king and his seven advisers to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem with regard to the Law of your God, which is in your hand. 15 Moreover, you are to take with you the silver and gold that the king and his advisers have freely given to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 together with all the silver and gold you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the freewill offerings of the people and priests for the temple of their God in Jerusalem. 17 With this money be sure to buy bulls, rams and male lambs,together with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and sacrifice them on the altar of the temple of your God in Jerusalem.

18 You and your fellow Israelites may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, in accordance with the will of your God. 19 Deliver to the God of Jerusalem all the articles entrusted to you for worship in the temple of your God. 20 And anything else needed for the temple of your God that you are responsible to supply, you may provide from the royal treasury.

21 Now I, King Artaxerxes, decree that all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates are to provide with diligence whatever Ezra the priest, the teacher of the Law of the God of heaven, may ask of you— 22 up to a hundred talents of silver, a hundred cors of wheat, a hundred baths of wine, a hundred baths of olive oil, and salt without limit.23 Whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, let it be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should his wrath fall on the realm of the king and of his sons? 24 You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God. 25 And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God, which you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates—all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach any who do not know them. 26 Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.

All this happened because the hand of the Lord was upon Him.

  • Why did the king give Ezra everything he asked for? “The hand of the Lord his God was on him” (Ezra7:6).
  • How was he able to travel 1,000 miles in only 4 months to go back to Jerusalem? “The good hand of his God was on him” (Ezra 7:9).
  • Where did he find the courage to lead the people of Israel? “He knows the hand of the Lord was on him” (Ezra 7:28).

Imagine if that was you in his place. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be provided for that way? Imagine your president just giving you everything you needed. The president supporting you in your endeavors, projects and initiatives. What favor is this that a high official will grant you everything you ask for? All this is because of what? The hand of the Lord was on Him. And the hand of the Lord was on Him, for? Again, what does it say in verse 6?

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.

This is why there are only 3 Points that we need to remember for the Lord’s hand to be upon us and on this church. We are to seek the Word. We are to do the Word. We are to teach the Word.

Here is the next part of this series – seek the word

Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message in Linglingay Christian Fellowship entitled “Seek. Do. Teach”. This is also the first part of the series on “Why the Lord’s hand was with Ezra.”

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About Marc Sorongon

is servant of Jesus Christ. He serves and heads the B1G South Ministry and is actively involved in speaking. He enjoys eating burritos, burgers and Persian food. Add him in Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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