Daily Word

Hand of the Lord | Ezra 7:1-7 (NLT)

1 Many years later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, there was a man named Ezra. He was the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, … son of Aaron the high priest. 6 This Ezra was a scribe who was well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to the people of Israel. He came up to Jerusalem from Babylon, and the king gave him everything he asked for, because the gracious hand of the Lord his God was on him. 7 Some of the people of Israel, as well as some of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and Temple servants, traveled up to Jerusalem with him in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes’ reign.~

Ezra 7:1-7 (NLT)

Almost 60 years later

Ezra finally enters the story in the book named after him. In the meantime, Xerxes reigned as king of Persia. The story of Esther also occurred during which the Jews still in Babylon almost got wiped out – but for the hand of God. Now we’re in the 7th year of the reign of Artaxerxes. (See the Ezra timeline.) Ezara leads the second wave of captives (including other priests and Levites) back to Jerusalem.

Who’s Ezra?

Ezra is a priest in the line of Aaron, the first priest. Check out his lineage in Ezra 6:2-5. This qualifies him as a spiritual leader in Israel. In particular, he was a scribe, one of the guys who studied the Word of God and probably meticulously copied it. He also had access to the King.

Hand of the Lord

We’ve seen the hand of the Lord a few times already. In Ezra 1:1, He “stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia”. In 1:5, “everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up and rebuild the house of the Lord”. We’ll see it again in Ezra 7:9, 7:28, 8:18, 8:22 & 8:31. 

Suffice it to say, God is always working. He is always directing everything, at all levels (from our every moment to the world stage even to beyond the universe), according to His plan and will. “…He makes everything work out according to his plan.“ Ephesians 1:11 NLT

More verses at crossway.org.

Free will?

Does His hand preclude our free will? Ask yourself, are you able to choose what you will do after reading this devotion?

Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

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