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::Devotional:: ‘The Gracious Hand of God Was Upon Him’

December 8, 2009

When I was in high school there was a popular modern rock band named “Better Than Ezra” who had a few hit songs that I liked.  I even had one or two of their cd’s I believe.  Anyway, I remember thinking, “If these guys are better than Ezra, who is Ezra?”  Seems like a fair question right?  I don’t know how the band ever got their name but I did find out about Ezra.  As a matter of fact, to be better than Ezra would be saying a lot because the scriptures describe him as a man with God’s hand upon him.  

Ezra was an Israelite in exile in the city of Babylon when the Persians had conquered the ancient near east which included cities like Jerusalem, Samaria, and Nineveh.  Some of the Persian kings were ironically supportive of the Israelites to the point where they actually funded not only their travel back to their homeland of Jerusalem but the rebuilding of the temple of God as well.  Ezra was one of the leaders sent back to Jerusalem.

In the second part of the book of Ezra, starting with chapter 7, Ezra is described as a man who had God’s full support in whatever he did.  The phrase “the hand of the LORD his God was on him” or a variation thereof occurs six times between chapters 7 and 8.

  • God was with him before the king of Persia (Ezra 7:6)
  • God was with him  in his swift travel back to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:9)
  • God was with him in his leadership (Ezra 7:28, 8:18)
  • God was with him in protection (Ezra 8:22, 8:31)

What was it about him that God saw and supported so faithfully?  Ezra was a man who devoted himself to the study and observance of God’s word and to the teaching of it as well.

…the gracious hand of his God was on him.  For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.  Ezra 7:9-10

We would be hard pressed to be “Better than Ezra” in our lives you know?  However, one precept is certain from these passages – God honors those who devote themselves to the faithful study, observance, and teaching of his word.  Just ask Ezra.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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