In our study of Ezra chapter seven, we will look at the man, his faithful preparation, and the favor of God that was upon him. We will apply this to our Christian walk.
"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 Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest - 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 king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him." NIV translation
The phrase "After these things" speaks of the rebuilding of the temple that we saw in chapter 6. We are introduced to Ezra and his heritage as a priest as his family tree is traced back to Aaron who (along with Moses) had led God's people out of captivity in Egypt. Before the temple was rebuilt, there would not have been a place for the priest to perform the sacrifices and so he stayed behind in Babylon teaching the people the Law of Moses. Finally, we are told that the favor of God was upon him and this caused the king to give him all that was needed for his work.
"Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 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." NIV translation
We see that the workers for the new temple returned to Jerusalem. This trip took four months of walking but God was with them.
"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." NIV translation
Why was God's favor upon Ezra? The simple fact of the matter is that he had faith in God and knew that He was going to restore His people and the temple in Jerusalem.He not only knew this but he also put in the work to prepare for the day that it would happen.
We may ask ourselves what this has to do with us and our daily walk with the Lord. If we want the favor of the Lord to be upon us, we need to put our faith into action. Just as Ezra knew God was going to restore Jerusalem, we know that Jesus is returning to judge the world and all who are in it. Do we sit back and wait or do we prepare for the day of the return like Ezra did?