“Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. ‘And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven…’
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.” Ezra 7:6,10,21-23,27-28
“The Lord said to me, ‘I am watching over my word to perform it.’” “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Jeremiah 1:12; Philippians 2:13
Ezra’s was a special gifting, a unique call from God, and God’s hand was on him to perform it. No one could imagine that the Persian king Artaxerxes would not only release Ezra and whatever Jews he wanted to take with him to return from exile to Jerusalem, but would supply him all the riches that had been taken in their capture, and grant legal protection and favor. But God does the unimaginable!
It is Ezra’s attitude and action I admire. Because he was a diligent student of God’s word, making a priority of learning, doing, and teaching it, His God was evident to, and revered by, this foreign king. He also received his assignment with vigor and humility, immediately acknowledging that it was God’s favor and hand that enabled them to return “to beautify the house of the LORD.” There was no want of personal credit or praise or ‘attaboys.’
When we set our hearts to seek and serve the Lord, He enlists us to be a part of adorning His kingdom in manifold ways. Tending wisely and courageously to our work, on mission for God’s purpose, according to His given skills, with the goal of magnifying His beauty, others see Him and not us, and He receives the glory.
In what ways has the Lord called us to beautify the ‘house’ of His church, our homes, our communities and places of work? Are we utilizing all the wisdom, creativity, and energy He supplies? Our material resources and individual talents? How well are we living out His word so others acknowledge Him?
Father, compel me to beautify Your house, apply Your word, and praise Your name wherever I am, all for Your blessing and renown.