Ezra 8 Commentary
The Bible has an obsession with lists and genealogies. It’s for good reasons. The people in exile needed to remain separate. Blood relations provided physical barriers between the community of God’s people and others.
We can see Ezra singling out Levites for selection to serve at the temple of the LORD. It was never a free-for-all invitation. In the New Testament, the blood of Jesus provides that all-important blood relationship. So the naturally unqualified can boast of inclusion on the list of heaven because they are born-again.
Ezra’s trip to Jerusalem begins with a prayer and fasting session. Reason? To humble themselves before the LORD. This trip required the hand of the LORD.
We need reminding that it takes humility to seek help from the LORD. The reason why we often don’t ask for help from the LORD is pride. There is a conviction inside that life will flow as usual. The next morning will always be like the previous. The crop will produce since it always does. There is always a sense of safety.
A humble man, however, sees no reason to feel safe in the face of so many loose ends. He wants to trust the LORD even for dear sleep. Fasting is therefore meant to humble the saint into a feeling of need and not a hunger strike meant to draw Heaven’s reluctant attention. Our Father in heaven hears prayer even before it is said. He requires no motivation to act on our behalf.
Ezra is ashamed to ask the king for protection. This kind of pride is godly and a must for every saint. As opposed to pride in self, pride in the fact that the LORD does take care of our needs is a great start every morning. But whenever this pride is confessed, prayer must be in attendance. It is a show of faith; not a lack of it. The saint must go back to the LORD and petition the LORD about the declarations they make.
In a show of stewardship, Ezra surrenders the temple gifts to others and ensures that these items are delivered to the temple in Jerusalem. It remains the saint’s responsibility to ensure that the gifts they give to the LORD are accounted for. The weighing before and the weighing at the point of delivery is meant to ensure accountability.
Many church funds go missing because saints don’t want to weigh the items before delivery and after delivery. It’s not a lack of trust. It’s called responsibility. It is demanded of the saint.
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