KJB Daily Devotion – Following Jesus Through Every Chapter
Date: Sunday, September 17, 2017
Chapters: Ezra 1-3
Message: A Willing Volunteer
Hello My Friend,
The Book of Ezra is the fifteenth book of the Old Testament/Bible and contains ten chapters. The author of the book is Ezra, and it was written to the Jews in Babylon. The purpose of the book was to record their return from captivity after spending seventy years in Babylon and their rebuilding of the temple. The timeline for these events is approximately 536 BC to 457 BC. What we are to learn from the book is repentance and restoration are the keys to returning to God. “And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God,” – Ezra 9:5.
God is in search of a few good men and women willing to get out of their comfort zone and help rebuild His church. It is going to take all of those whose spirit God has raised up to do it, but we will not be alone, the Holy Spirit will guide and direct us where to go. It had been seventy years since Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem and taken the Jews captive into Babylon, God is ready for His people to return to rebuild it, and the temple. King Darius stood before the Jews, stirred up by God, eager to send any willing to volunteer to go to Jerusalem.
“Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered. Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.” – Ezra 1:3-8.
“his God be with him,” Many are called upon to step up and serve God, but few are willing. This is because there are not very many Christians willing to get out of their comfort zone in order to help God, in fact, they only want to do it if it does not inconvenience them. “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:37-38.
A census was taken of the families that came up out of captivity, forty-two thousand, three hundred and sixty people stepped up to start their new journey as servants of God. Some of the Jews were not recognized by their heritage, they had no idea where they came from, therefore were not allowed to do work in the temple.
“The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women. Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five; Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty. And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments. So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.” – Ezra 2:64-70.
“offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place:” We have to stop and think about the conditions in which these volunteers were about to embark, remember, Jerusalem was in ruins, the temple was destroyed, and pretty much everything that resembled God was gone. It was not going to be easy, but God would be with them if they were willing to accept the call and do it with all their heart. Many are chosen to come to Christ, but very few are chosen, unwilling to accept Him because they do not want to leave the comforts of their earthly life. “Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” – Matthew 20”14-16.
Two years after the Jews returned to Jerusalem the foundation was laid, it was a big celebration, and although it was only the foundation, they went right to work and built an altar.
“And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD. Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites. And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.” – Ezra 3:1-2,8-10.
“and builded the altar of the God of Israel,” Our first priority in serving God is having a relationship with His Son, getting saved is only the beginning, if we want to grow and prosper in our journey we must walk with Him daily and make Him a part of everything we do. Of all the things we can do to volunteer, the most rewarding and heart warming is the work we do for God, but if we do not have a personal relationship with Him ourselves all we are doing is trying to work our way to heaven, which cannot be done. Serving God is not always easy, it can come with many challenges, especially in our faith, not only do you feel good about what you are doing, you also feel conviction, and a love that you have never felt before. Talk about an emotional roller coaster? And the work we do for God does not return void, even if we get persecuted, we will reap the benefits of giving our time to God and the work He calls us to do. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” – Matthew 5:10-12.
Jesus Christ Magnified: “All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.” – Ezra 1:11. Sheshbazzar is Zerubbabel, the prince of Judah, Jesus is the Prince of Judah and peace.
Today’s Prayer: God, What a blessing it is to be one of Your children, not because of any good that I have done, but because of my belief in what Your Son has done for me. I am saved, redeemed, and one of Yours because I am only trusting in Him for my salvation. Thank You Jesus. While I can do anything to get into Your Kingdom, except believe in You, I can do something to reach others by living the life You would have me to live. Lord, Lead me and guide me, let me behave in a way that others see You through me, when I get discouraged remind me that You never leave me. When I am dangling off the edge of difficulites, pull me up so I will not fall. I ask these things in Your name, Jesus. Amen.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,
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