God’s Life-Giving Word of Praise and Thanksgiving
Ezra 7:1-10: The book of Ezra describes the return of some of the Jewish exiles from Babylonia and the restoration of life and worship in Jerusalem. (The rebuilding and dedication of the Temple are described in chapters 3—6). In today’s reading, at the command of the Persian emperor Artaxerxes, Ezra leaves Babylonia with other Israelites and arrives in Jerusalem.
Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the LORD, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.
Ezra Arrives in Jerusalem
1Many years later, when Artaxerxes was emperor of Persia, there was a man named Ezra. He traced his ancestors back to Aaron, the High Priest, as follows: Ezra was the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron.
6-7Ezra was a scholar with a thorough knowledge of the Law which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to Moses. Because Ezra had the blessing of the Lord his God, the emperor gave him everything he asked for. In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra set out from Babylonia for Jerusalem with a group of Israelites which included priests, Levites, Temple musicians, Temple guards, and workers. 8-9They left Babylonia on the first day of the first month, and with God's help they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month. 10Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.
How is Ezra described? Who was his ancestor? Why was it important for Ezra to teach the laws and regulations to the people of Israel? Are laws and regulations important for communities of faith today? If so, why?
Holy God, bless all communities of faith as they seek to nurture their members in faith. Guide me in the way of your truth and help me to grow in the knowledge of your teachings. Amen.
Those responsible for handling the legal affairs for communities of faith
Ezra 7:11-28: Ezra receives a document from Emperor Artaxerxes.