Ezra, This Ezra

“In the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— this 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...

“On the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For 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.

“This is… the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes..:  ‘Artaxerxes.., to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace. I decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you…

“‘And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach.'” Ezra 7:1-6,9-13,25

Ezra had a Bible book named after him. He was given specific gifts, a special heart, and an important role in Israel and in God’s broader plan. Just who is this Ezra? An ordinary man, with parents and grandparents and a long family line, who was made extraordinary by the God he sought and served.

Each one of us who knows Jesus is known by name. He ordained our lineage, our time and place, our family, and our occupation. And He gives us the privilege of doing our part in His kingdom with particular purpose and sufficient equipping. (Psalm 16:5-6; 139:13-16; Isaiah 49:1-3; Acts 17:26; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 2:10)

Blessed be the God who so works! Do we see His marvelous hand ordaining and inspiring His church through its members? Do we see His generosity in the provision given to carry out our calling? Can we trace His wise hand in superintending leaders and common people to move forward His divine intention?

Grasping God’s providence in our lives gives courage and joy to be brave and glad to move forward in His will. He who calls is He who enables, and His plans never fail, nor His presence leave. He has named us each this one, and will bless our following His voice. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

How ready, and willing, am I to offer myself as living sacrifices for His service? How diligently do I seek His specific place for me in His church, His world? Am I trusting Him to give all I need to follow His lead? (Matthew 7:11; Romans 12:1; Philippians 4:19)

Lord, as Your named one, may I be faithful in doing Your bidding and bringing honor to Your name above all.

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