Wednesday 21st February 2018 - Daily Reading:
Ezra 8 - Journey to Jerusalem by Karen Cowling

Here we find a more detailed account of Ezraís journey to Jerusalem. He lists the people who had gone with him, and a short genealogy of each family. He then looks at all the people he has got and sees that among the party there are no Levites to attend the temple. Knowing the scriptures as he did, Ezra knew that would never do, and as they are encamped by the Ahava canal he sends for Levites to come and join them. While they are encamped and waiting for Godís full go ahead to travel further, Ezra declares a fast. This fast was so they could humble themselves before the Lord and to ask Him for a safe journey.

It was important for Ezra to pray for a safe journey, as he states that he didnít want to ask the King for soldiers to protect them on their journey as he had already said: ďThe gracious hand of our God is on everyone†who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.Ē To have then asked for protection from men would have shown both a lack of faith in God on Ezraís part and a lack of Godís power to the king. Neither of these were an option for Ezra, and so they prayed, and God answered their prayer and protected them on their journey.

Ezra is very particular that from the outset everyone should fulfil their role in the community. Once the Levites and temple servants have joined them, he immediately gives them the silver and gold for the temple to look after. It will be their job to weigh it when they get to Jerusalem.

When they do arrive, safely, they rest for 3 days, and then start to sort everything out. The first thing is to weigh the silver and gold that was given to them for the temple by Artaxerxes. This is done by the priest already present in Jerusalem, and the Levites Ezra has taken with him. They then offer the burnt sacrifices they had brought with them and pass on the instructions from the king to the governors of the Trans-Euphrates.

Ezra is very organised and very particular. He wants Israel to again be a nation that is all out for God. We need to read our Bibles and pray, asking God to guide us and lead us into how we are to serve him, how to be all out of him. We all have a part to play in the body, and when we are all functioning in our God given part then Godís church can become Ďa nation all out for Godí.

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