The People Who Returned With Ezra
Ezra 8:1-20 records the people who returned to Jerusalem with Ezra. When the group assembled at the designated starting point for the journey, Ezra noticed the absence of Levites. Ezra would need the assistance of the Levites to do the work that God had called him to perform. Ezra rectified the situation by sending some leaders of the people to recruit some Levites for the journey. This effort was successful and resulted in both Levites and temple servants joining the group.
The Prayer for Protection of Ezra
These verses reveal the fact that Ezra felt a great sense of responsibility for the safety of the people who were returning with him. The journey involved a 900-mile trek through dangerous regions. Ezra called the people to fast and entreat the Lord for a safe journey, especially in light of the numbers of children and the possessions that they would have with them. Ezra 8:23 indicates that the people felt confident God had heard their prayers.
The Priests Charged by Ezra
Ezra 8:24-30 informs us that Ezra charged the priests with the responsibility of caring for the offerings and treasures that were to be delivered to the Temple in Jerusalem. This was a way to insure an accurate inventory and delivery of the items.
The Protection of God Over the People and Ezra
Ezra 8:31-32 confirms Ezra 8:23. God had indeed heard the prayers of His people for a safe journey. The entire group arrived safely in Jerusalem. After three days of rest, the offerings and utensils were delivered to the ecclesiastical leaders (8:33-34), sacrifices were offered (8:35), and the civil leaders were presented with a copy of King Artaxerxes’ decree (8:36).
We must depend upon God in all that we do.
Ezra depended upon God every step of the way. From the moment he made his requests known to the king to the day he set foot in Jerusalem, Ezra depended upon God. Ezra’s dependence upon God is evident in his continual acknowledgement of God’s leadership, provision, protection, and enabling (See Ezra 7:6, 9, 28 and 8:18, 22, 31).
We must be wise stewards of what God has entrusted to us.
Ezra was a wise steward of all that God entrusted into his care. He was a wise steward in his care of the people who returned to Jerusalem with him. He was a wise steward of the offerings and temple utensils that had been entrusted into his care. God honored Ezra’s careful planning and wise administration.
Each of us must do our part.
When Ezra took inventory of the people who were going to return to Jerusalem with him, he noticed the absence of the Levites. Ezra needed the Levites in order to accomplish God’s work in Jerusalem. In like manner, when we do not do our part there is a gap in the ministry team. All of us are needed. Each of us must respond personally to God’s will, regardless of what others may do.