King James Bible Study – [Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.]
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021
Chapters: Ezra 7-10
Message: Prepare, Seek, Do, And Teach
Hello My Friend,
There is no better passage to go with these chapters for today than what Jesus said about Him preparing a place for us, [John 14:2-7 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.]
Did you know that it is God who prepares our heart to seek His Word? This is why He even appoints us a time when we are ready to accept Christ as our Saviour. The reason being is that our heart needs to get to the point of humility and not full of self righteous pride that gets in the way of our coming to the understanding that we are sinners, [Isaiah 57:14-16 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. 15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.]
[Contrite; Literally, worn or bruised. Hence, broken-hearted for sin; deeply affected with grief and sorrow for having offended God; humble; penitent; as a contrite sinner.] God can get quite angry at His people, and these are not the lost, these are the saved, fully knowing what is written in the Bible. And yet, here He is full of mercy and grace, pressing on our very hearts to not only humble, but revive the hearts of those who forsake His Word over their sin. As we return to, and come to the end of the Book of Ezra, if you follow the timeline, this was around 457 BC, so it took place when Esther was queen. Ezra was back in Babylon (Persia) after the temple had been built, word got out that things were not going so well in Jerusalem. Under the direction of King Artaxerxes (Xerxes), Ezra was directed by the king himself to return to Jerusalem to direct the people in the laws of God.
[Ezra 7:1,5-7,10 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 5 The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest: 6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. 7 And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. 10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.]
[For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD,] [Prepare; To make ready; to fit, adapt or qualify for a particular purpose, end, use, service or state, by any means whatever.] Ezra made his heart ready, not only by seeking and reading the Word of God, but following it. Ezra is a descendant of Aaron, he was also a scribe, which is someone who wrote down the words contained in the Law. Ezra not only made sure that everything written in the Word of God was accurate, he also penned several books under the inspiration of God, including the Chronicle books. Before heading to Jerusalem, Xerxes, had a decree made that gave Ezra the authority to do whatever he needed to do to get the temple in order.
[Ezra 7:13-15,21,23 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee. 14 Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand; 15 And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem, 21 And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily, 23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?]
[the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,] Xerxes may not have known the Word of God, or realized that He is everywhere, but he did know where he could find Him. This is why it is very important for every church to prepare their heart to seek God’s Word and to do it, [2 Corinthians 6:1-4 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,]
[for why should there be wrath against the realm] Do you see what happens when just one church is not obeying the Word of God? It brings affliction and hardship to the rest of us. The king goes on to encourage them, but he also commands Ezra to do whatever it takes to make sure they are obeying God’s Word, [Ezra 7:25-27 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. 26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment. 27 Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem:]
[let judgment be executed speedily upon him,] Can you imagine being put in prison for disobeying God? Well, the wages of sin is death itself. And if we are honest with ourselves, we put ourselves in prison if we unrepentant sin, even if we are unaware of something that we are doing is sin. We must prepare our heart every single day to seek God’s Word and do it, and some days we need an extra dose. Now, after Ezra received the call from the king to assemble a group of people willing to go to Jerusalem he was a little overwhelmed because over seventeen hundred men volunteered to go to Jerusalem with him. He knew that God was with Him and would guide him in the right direction, but it was not going to be easy. He also realized that there were no Levites who came that were able to do the duties of maintaining the temple. So, before going any further the entire team fasted and prayed while they waited for some men who would be able to minister in the temple.
[Ezra 8:15-17,21 And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi. 16 Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding. 17 And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God. 21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.]
[to seek of him a right way for us,] Remember, God’s ways are not often our ways, so what is right in our eyes may not be necessarily right in His, especially when it comes to His Church. When Ezra and the people arrived in Jerusalem they expected to see at least a few of the Jews and the Levites obeying the Law. Instead, it was just the opposite, the moral and spiritual condition in Jerusalem was terrible, and many of the priests were actually married and had kids with women who were not even Jews.
[Ezra 9:1-4 Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. 3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. 4 Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.]
[Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words] If the Word of God does not convict you, then there is something wrong with your heart. God expects us to fall sometimes, after all, we are still sinners, but He also expects us to repent and turn away from the sin, even if it takes some time to do that. God would rather have us falling and repenting all day long with a humble and contrite heart than just doing what we want without any conviction. And by the way, conviction revives our heart, and gets us back in God’s good graces, [2 Corinthians 7:10-11 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.]
As the congregation heard Ezra praying they too began to pray and repent of their sin, but now, came the hard part. Would they follow the Law as they said they would? [Ezra 10:1-4 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore. 2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. 3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. 4 Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.]
[for this matter belongeth unto thee:] Amazingly, one by one, each man who married a strange wife, and felt convicted, agreed to present himself with his wife and children before the court to determine whether or not they served God or a false god. If they were not following God, then they would agree to get a divorce and separate from them forever, [Ezra 10:9-11,17 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain. 10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. 11 Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. 17 And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month.]
[and separate yourselves from the people] This is why believers are not to be married or in relationships of any kind with unbelievers or even those of a different denomination, not every church lives by the Word of God, [Romans 16:17-20 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.]
Jesus Christ Magnified: [Ezra 8:31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.]
Today’s Prayer: God, You know there have been times in my life when I have fallen, but Your hand quickly pulled me back up. Thank You for loving me and not forsaking me, for holding me up, even when I wanted to fall. Thank You for Your endless mercy and grace, it truly endures, and thank You for always being there for me, even when I do fail You. Thank You also, for preparing my heart to seek You, Your Word, Your Son in my life, and for serving You. Lord, the work that You have called me to do is great and so humbling, but it is also overwhelming, especially when I am seeking, doing, and teaching Your Word, but I do not seem to be getting through to people. I need You to get through each day, pour Your Spirit upon me and fill me with Your love, mercy, grace, peace, strength, and wisdom. Prepare my heart, help me to get through this day, uplifted and encouraged, knowing that You are always with me, have a purpose for everything I go through, and are preparing me for something great when it all comes to pass. I ask these things in Your name, Jesus. Amen.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,
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