Ezra’s Arrival

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Ezra 7:1-28, Psalm 123:1-4, 2 Corinthians 9:6-12

In today’s reading, we transition to the second phase of Israel’s reformation after their Babylonian exile. In phase one of their reformation, under the generosity and encouragement of King Cyrus, Zerubbabel led a group of Israelites back to Jerusalem to rebuild and refurbish the temple. Now, in phase two, under the generosity and encouragement of King Artaxerxes, Ezra leads a group of Israelites to Jerusalem to redirect the hearts of Israel back toward God.

The focus of Ezra’s ministry becomes apparent through his heart’s determination to study, obey, and teach Israel the law as well as the nature of the gifts he received from King Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:10). While King Cyrus’s gifts were designated for rebuilding the kingdom, King Artaxerxes’s gifts were designated for worshiping God through the sacrificial system. Together, the desired outcome of Ezra’s ministry and King Axtraxerxes’s gifts were to ensure that the temple didn’t sit dormant as some kind of Jewish monument to be admired but that it lived up to its God-desired potential.

This second phase of Israel’s reformation reminds us that, as Christians, we haven’t just been saved from something but that we’ve also been saved for something. Through His death, Christ saves us from our spiritual exile—we’re far from God due to our sinful nature and behaviors. By His resurrection, Christ saves us for a relationship with God marked by relational worship and devotion to His ways. 

Like the temple, we’ve been rebuilt for a purpose. Unfortunately, depending on the day of the week, I can make that purpose about so many other things than relational worship of God and devotion to His ways. Though I would never say this out loud, my attitude and behaviors often reveal that I believe: 

I’ve been saved for a comfortable life where all of my needs are met at all times… 

I’ve been saved for an influential life where I use my gifts and follow my dreams…

I’ve been saved for a peaceful life where I’m unbothered by the swirling world around me and can quietly drink my water and mind my business…

But God has saved me (and you) for a qualitatively different kind of life. A life where we welcome discomfort when pursuing comfort would deviate from relational worship of Him and His ways. A life where, yes, we use our gifts, but not for the self-centered purposes of filling our bank accounts or being known, but to, like Ezra, direct the hearts of others towards God. A life where we allow ourselves to be bothered by the swirling world, determining in our hearts to call others to the God who saved them for more than anything in this world alone could offer them. 

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42 thoughts on "Ezra’s Arrival"

  1. Leslie Casstevens says:

    I’m glad we are made new again

  2. Anna Jepson says:

    This study has been timely in a long stretch of unemployment. I’ve been without a job for 6 months, and in that time have felt God completely reworking the soil of my heart to have a new posture towards Him and towards work. Would love prayer for whatever new role that is! Thankful for the sowing in this season.

  3. Jennifer Lumley says:

    Thankful for this reminder today that is all things, no matter what we are going through, or uncomfortable out situations can be, we are called to rest in the promise that God is with us and He wants us to worship Him

  4. Emma Rageth says:

    I have been there, @AG. Definitely praying for you through that!!

  5. Linda J says:

    Praying for you Teresa.

  6. Melissa Paul says:

    Praying for you Teresa, and for God’s peace and answers.

  7. Claire B says:


  8. Jenna Wall says:

    I was “rebuilt” for more than my comfortable life I live. I think about all the missed opportunities to share the gospel because of my being uncomfortable or not spending time in worship because I’d rather do something else. Father forgive me… thank you Lord that you are still working on this temple. I may not get it right every day but I’m so far from where I once was!

  9. Cee Gee says:

    TERESA DONLEY – Thank you for bringing your need to us for prayer. I am 69 and totally understand the temptation for anxiety. I adopted the same attitude about my test and until I hear otherwise I will believe there is no concern. Thank you for praying for me, too. My doc wasn’t concerned when I mentioned symptoms, either, and I went back after a month. That is when he ordered the test. It pays to advocate for ourselves! I pray anything revealed will be medically manageable and not aggressive for both of us! ❤

    VICTORIA E – (not Victoria e-mai!!!)

  10. AG says:

    Trying to cling to God’s purpose for me during this incredibly hard year of teaching. New curriculums, unrealistic expectations, & big behaviors in my class.. could definitely use some prayers for patience and peace in knowing this is what God called me to do even in the hard times.

  11. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I have been uncomfortable lately due to raising two small girls and my mother in law saying with us. My needs sometimes have to take a backseat to the needs of others. It’s not always comfortable to feel like I don’t have my needs met, and to live in constant motion and with little downtime. In those moments I know God is stretching me and meeting my needs, even when I am overwhelmed.

  12. Teresa Donley says:

    I had a brain MRI a couple of months ago, and the written report, combined with symptoms, gave me concern. My PCP told me it was completely normal. When I started asking him about the specific components of the report, he admitted he didn’t know very much about them, and referred me to a neurologist. I had an appointment with her last Thursday, and she confirmed my worries about the report and symptoms. Basically, the main concern is atrophy of the brain, especially in certain areas. She is ordering additional tests, and said then we could move forward with any treatment that is needed. She told me she would be looking specifically for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases. News like that can certainly stop you in your tracks! I’ll be having an in-depth memory test next week, and a sleep study to be scheduled. At first, I was surprised that I wasn’t freaking out and crying in a ball on the floor. But in thinking about it and praying about it, I determined that I don’t know anything for sure yet, and whatever the diagnosis, God’s got this. But as the days are going by, I’m finding myself getting very concerned and scared. I don’t want to lose my memory! I pray that I can be an active part of the lives of my four grandchildren. I’m 67 years old , and I really thought I would have many more years to see them reach life’s milestones. Please lift me in prayer that I am able to give this completely to God, and rest in the assurance that everything really does work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to his purposes. I really want to be able to say, God’s got this, and rest in His peace.

  13. Teresa Donley says:

    ALISA, MERCY, CEE GEE, SEARCHING, KRISTEN, COLLEEN DEVEAU, ALEIDA I am lifting each of you and the prayer requests you have made. How wonderful it is to know that women from various locales are lifting our hardships and concerns to our Lord.
    Todays reading was wonderful, as well as the devotion. But it was from the comments from our fellow She’s that I received insight, peace and hope. Thank you all for sharing your hearts.

  14. Cee Gee says:

    VICTORIA E-MAIL Thank you, too, for the prayers. I didn’t see your post earlier. Praying for some progress in your work situation and that God will be glorified.

    Sorry for the multiple posts, ladies!

  15. Kimberly Z says:

    Happy Tuesday ladies!! Praying we all have the courage to live up the potential God has in store for us. What an awesome life we get to live because of him!

  16. Traci Gendron says:

    God taught me that there is a purpose in our pain. That we suffer as Christ suffered. I try to remember that. I have a story that may help other mothers in grief over their children. Keep my eyes up oh Lord. Heal my broken heart and use me to show your love to others.

  17. Charlotte Seymour says:

    This was a wonderful read as I enjoy the beauty and spender of the lord while on vacation!

  18. Allison Bentley says:

    Todays reading has given me hope- Blessed be the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who has put it into the kings mind to glorify the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. (V 27). In a world where I look around and think we’ve gotten off track I am reminded this is the cycle of human nature and PRAISE GOD he puts it into our minds to glorify Him and His house. God is faithful and we just need to show up to see His glory! @COLLEENDEVEAU what a beautiful testament of Gods glory! Keep using this time to seek His face!!!

  19. Kris says:

    God has been talking to be about this very thing…how I think I’m blessed only if everything is fine and comfortable. Yes, He leads us beside quiet waters, allows us to lay down in green pastures, but we are also called to suffer for His sake. So, just because something isn’t going the way I want it to, doesn’t mean I’m not in God’s favor, that His blessings aren’t in my life. For a year I taught a little bible study at a recovery home for women, and often it wasn’t comfortable for me. I often felt inadequate, not being able to relate to them because I never did drugs and stuff like that, but God used His power and knowledge thru me to inspire them to live better lives and have faith in God. I always felt inadequate and uncomfortable, but that wasn’t the point. God’s power is much bigger than our inadequacy, He just wants our availability. and Yes, SHARON, I agree with you, Reading other people’s studies is great, but I need to do more of my own studying because it brings me closer to God when I’m doing the digging.

  20. Karen Johansen says:

    Thank you, Colleen DeVeau, for your post. May God continue to show you His mercy and provision in this hard season.

  21. Cee Gee says:

    COLLEEN DEVEAU – Your post made my heart smile! I love taking pictures of nature so I totally ‘get’ your daddy’s obsession! It is so loving of God to put you in your daddy’s place, physically and visually! I encourage you to share the things you see with your dad so he doesn’t miss it while he is away. Thankful for the talks you have had with him and love that he is reassuring you and your brothers to the best of his ability. Praise God for the safe travels! Continued prayers for all!

  22. Cee Gee says:

    Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NLT

    TINA, I was reminded of your JOY post as I saw this verse of the day.

    SEARCHING, I put Philippians 4:4 here before I saw your comment! It is one of my favorite verses, too. Thank you for the prayers! ❤ Praying a swift and permanent resolution to the situation with your friends and praising God with you for His answer to your prayer for the other situation!

    KRISTIN – Praying for Jan, for healing and salvation, and for you as you minister to her. Praying for you as you take part in the telecast. Pretend you are talking one on one with a parent of your student.

    ALISA W – Today’s reading about had having enough certainly fits your situation! I was thinking of MERCY, VICTORIA, and others with issues on the job and those with multiple health issues, etc., as I read the verse asking God for favor. Psalm 123:3- …”show us favor, Lord, show us favor for we have had more than enough… ” Praying!

    What I noticed in the Scriptures is that Ezra did all he could to prepare spiritually before leading this group of folks. How awesome that he was a descendent of Aaron and took his calling seriously. There is so much here as another She said!

    Praying God’s favor and peace to each of you and those on your hearts today.

  23. Aleida says:

    Good morning dear She’s. Thank you again for your prayers for our son Victor and for our move. He doesn’t seem to be doing great despite the fact that he’s still in rehab and living in sober living in Southern CA. I feel the surroundings where he is (north Hollywood) aren’t the best and being alone without family around him (our extended family lives about an hour away in Orange County) may be contributing to his depression. I also feel that he may still be tempted to use pot to self medicate his pain. It’s SO hard because we’re 1000 miles away in Oregon and being that he’s 27 years old, there’s only so much we can do or say. Please keep praying for my boy
    They accepted our counteroffer on the house and we’re in escrow, closing 9/29. We will be putting our home for sale in the next 2-3 weeks. 16 years of stuff to pack and so much stuff to get rid of in a short amount of time since we are downsizing. We’re thankful and joyful knowing God’s plan was made evident for this house but VERY overwhelmed with all that needs to be done. Both my husband and I work full time so please pray for energy, focus and efficiency. This should be a time of much rejoicing for us but our hearts are broken over our son’s situation. Please pray for a miracle. Thank you!❤️❤️

  24. Michelle Patire says:

    @Mercy- your situation with your work reminds me of our devotional from last week. I think about how the enemy was like a nag, doing whatever he could to stop the work of God. I think about Nehemiah who was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and these men tried 5 times to get him to stop, but he stayed diligent to the work of the Lord. That chapter wasn’t specifically in our study, but it is in this current timeline we are reading regarding the reconstruction of the city of Jerusalem. Anyway, point is – stay diligent! That word jumped out at me today during the readings. Be diligent and don’t let these little jabs of Satan get you down. You know he is the one trying to discourage you by this. I pray you stay encouraged knowing God will prosper your work for Him, just as He did for Ezra. May you keep your eyes on Him and see victory.
    @Alisa W- After reading all your stressors, I believe the Lord is trying to refine you. There is just no reason for this all to be happening at once, except for Him to draw you nearer and more dependent on Him. I have been without a car for long bouts of time, and in that time, God wanted me to learn to rely on Him and the community He provided to care for me. It also taught me that I can’t rely on my own wit to solve all my problems. I think we become so reliant on ourselves, God uses external problems to show us we need Him. Lord, I thank you for Your grace. Please help Alisa keep coming to You and let her see Your care for her in this time. Let her not sit in the lies of the enemy, but trust You have her in the palm of Your hand.
    @Kristen- praying for Jan’s heart to be drawn by the Holy Spirit in this time of weakness. May she see that He alone saves. May she see Him in her discomfort and pain. May doctors and close relatives express Him to her and show her she’s not alone. Also praying peace over your interview. It might feel like a big deal, but it is a just a flashing moment in the grand scheme of eternity… so take the pressure off yourself. I pray you trust the Holy Spirit to lead your words and know He is guiding you. :)

    Have a great Tuesday, Shes!

  25. Antoinette Burnett says:

    amen. This was good

  26. GramsieSue says:

    @Colleen – what a beautiful post ❤️

  27. Colleen DeVeau says:

    My Daddy takes many pictures of the sunrise, sunset, clouds, flowers, birds, etc., and from an onlooker’s perspective, it seems repetitive. As we are staying in Daddy’s condo while we are visiting him in the hospital and trying to figure out how to help him best, I understand. I understand the never-ending pictures of seemingly the same thing.
    I was awakened this morning by the sound of the muscovy ducks having a chat. I got up from the futon in the Florida room to see a pink sky laid out in front of me. The sunrise is stunning here.
    I understand all of Daddy’s pictures: How could you not take a picture when God’s creation is this beautiful? Daddy is surrounded by it here.
    As I read today’s Scriptures, there was a mother Muscovy duck and her ducklings taking a morning stroll, nibbling on bits of greenery as they went. It is precious to behold God’s creation when it is right there at your feet. How can you not praise Him?
    “Look, I am the Lord, the God over every creature. Is anything too difficult for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).
    If this is where my Daddy has had to spend the last few years, months, and days of this often very painful season of his life, God has most assuredly blessed him.
    God may not have given my father healing immediately from his condition, but he has provided for him, blessed him, and shown his favor upon him in so many ways other ways like this.
    It makes me think of John on the island of Patmos, where he had to spend a decent amount of time. I hope, I am praying, that that island was half as beautiful as this place.
    If God does not wholly remove our suffering, He can still bless us and show us His favor in the midst of it. We cannot ask why He allows it, but His love, mercy, and grace are so evident.
    God has provided for my brothers and me throughout our journey here. He showed us where to go in a very unfamiliar area, directing us to the correct trains and buses in His time, which brought us right to
    Delray Medical Center, the hospital where my Daddy is. He allowed us to speak with my Daddy somewhat coherently as my Daddy continued to repeat, “Nothing is impossible with God,” (Luke 1:37; Luke 18:27; Matthew 19:26) and other scriptures for our encouragement.
    God is so kind. He does not forget us. He does not overlook us. He sees us. He sits with us. He endures with us.
    Thank You, Abba, for caring for my Daddy, for me, and for all the creation Your hands and words have made. I see You in all of it and am undone that in the midst of all of this, You see me. I will bless Your Name forever. Amen.

  28. Cheryl Blow says:

    We cannot allow ourselves to be comfortable and complacent in our relationship with God. We have to step out if our comfort zones snd reach out to our uncomfortable world. Using what has given us. Given freely and sacrificially! Our world needs us.

  29. Laura says:

    “A life where we allow ourselves to be bothered by the swirling world, determining in our hearts to call others to the God who saved them for more than anything in this world alone could offer them.” This. I want to live this with my whole heart.

  30. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    Lately I’ve been convicted that I need to take more time for the study of God’s word. I love the devotionals and readings from SRT, but for me – it’s not enough, I clearly need more. The business of life gets in the way. Today it seems that God is reaffirming when I read Ezra 7:10 – “the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the law.” Do I read God’s word daily -yes. Have I devoted myself to studying it – I don’t think so. Father God, help me to take pause in this busy life to devote myself to knowing You more. To not just read a little here and there but to search the scriptures, to dig in – to learn of Your character, Your desires for Your people and what You expect from me. You have given me so much, help me to honor You by learning all that I can about You so that I can better serve You. Amen.

    @Mercy – continued prayers for the technical (and people) issues that you are experiencing at your job. Praise God the problem eventually got solved, may it not happen again!
    @Rhonda – safe travels to Kentucky and back to Florida. Praise the Lord for the time you were able to spend with your family!
    @Alisa W. – praise the Lord that your son did not have appendicitis! Continuing to pray for your car situation and that God will give you peace and patience in the waiting.
    @Kristen – praying for your mom’s friend Jan, also praying for you as you have your television interview. May God give you just the right words to say, and take away any nervousness.
    @Searching – praying wisdom and guidance for your friends as they navigate through this messy situation.
    @Colleen Deveau – continued prayers for your dad and also for you and your brothers.

    Blessings to all of you today! ❤️

  31. Taylor says:

    Echoing the prayers of others that I would be able to live up to my God-given potential, and to have peace that surpasses all understanding when things are hard, don’t go my way, or make me uncomfortable. Lifting up all the prayer requests <3

  32. Searching says:

    God’s moving in the heart of the king to provide his support and resources to Ezra, along with authority to appoint local officials/judges – amazing to read about the detailed provisions for the teaching of His people. He is providing for us as well.

    Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. (KJV) Verse of the day on Bible Gateway. One of my favorites :)

    MERCY ❤️ God’s timeline and His perfect timing- thanks for the reminder! And sister, computer problems – I hear you! One of the most frustrating things to deal with. Praying today goes smoothly, no downtime and lots of productivity – for both of us!
    COLLEEN DEVEAU – praying for your daddy! ❤️
    CEE GEE – glad the test is behind you, joining in prayer for results ❤️
    KRIS – yes, impatience causes so many issues and especially when combined with envy & pride. Lord, guide us to keep our eyes on You.
    RHONDA J – safe travels!
    TAYLOR – amen!
    KRISTIN – praying for our mom’s friend Jan – for her health and salvation. Praying for peace and calm in today’s interview! Deep breath – you’ve got this!❤️
    ALISA W – thankful for son’s recovery. Praying for swift provision of the required car part(s), and guidance in the house situation.

    A late praise for answered prayer last week – a friend frustrated with a task they could not complete, at the point they were ready to abandon it and would not even consider an offer of help. It seems they live a frustrated life most days and I left and began praying, for a resolution to whatever the problem was, that a solution would be seen. It wasn’t long before I heard from them – problem solved, and we both gave credit to the Lord!

    Prayer request for wisdom and guidance for friends that have allowed personal grievances with someone to mix in with their business and much of it has become public, thanks to social media and published reviews.

  33. Karen Elizabeth says:

    So much to unpack in this scripture and commentary. “Through His death, Christ saves us from our spiritual exile—we’re far from God due to our sinful nature and behaviors. By His resurrection, Christ saves us for a relationship with God marked by relational worship and devotion to His ways.” So good. And the remainder of the devotional is so convicting. Admittedly, I am drawn by the disillusion that I somehow deserve a comfortable life…that this is what I should pursue. Holy Spirit, continue to convict me. Open my eyes to your will. I am promised a peace that surpasses all understanding, not material comfort and absence of struggle in this world. Lord, help me align my heart with yours.

  34. Aimee D-R says:

    Convicting for sure. Father that my heart to lead others to you is as Ezra’s. Amen

  35. Kristine Loughman says:

    I keep coming back to this verse from the end of the devotions today: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8 What a wonderful thought, that we have what we need in all things, at all times. All times! Not just the times we’re good, not as a reward, not when we need a bail out… all times! And it’s followed not with “so go kick up your heels or rest a spell” but with pass it on to others. Today I feel especially convicted to be generous with my thoughts towards others. God has not withheld his grace from me and I should not withhold grace from others.

  36. Mary Ann Graves says:


  37. Kelly (NEO) says:

    The king’s God used gave gifts to “ensure that the temple didn’t sit dormant as some kind of Jewish monument to be admired but that it lived up to its God-desired potential.”

    The gifts the King of kings has given us are to be used so that we live up to our potential too! To God be the glory

    ALISA W – so frustrating! Praying for peace of mind while all the swirling is going on around you. Praying the inspector would be convicted of his lack of integrity and do the job!

    KRISTEN – praying for Jan. May you rest in God knowing the gifts and knowledge He has given you will shine forth in your interview

  38. Kristen says:

    I got this from the Enduring Word commentary and the Scripture from Proverbs was also mentioned in the podcast by Racheal and Amanda’s guest, Noe. Such a reminder of the power and sovereignty of God! Here it is:
    So I was encouraged, as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me.

    a. Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers: Ezra knew that such generous and broad support and authority could only be granted by God who put such a thing as this in the king’s heart.

    i. As God had moved the heart of Darius (Ezra 6:1-12), we see that God also moved the heart of Artaxerxes. Truly, The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes (Proverbs 21:1).

    @Alisa W praying!
    I would like to ask for prayers for my mom’s friend Jan. I have mentioned that she needs a kidney transplant. She has been suffering a lot lately and now has Covid. Please pray for her and her salvation.

    Also, I was on the news last night for a segment about teaching reading. I was shaking and couldn’t stop before the first interview started. My principal and I are slated to be on the local live show today around 3. Please pray for God to help me and give me the words if you would. Thank you

  39. Elle says:

    Wow- what a powerful passage, and thank you for this devotional, Yana. I pray that as temples of the Holy Spirit we would not be dormant but live up to our God-desired potential. Whatever the God of Heaven has prescribed for us today, let it be done with diligence (Ezra 7:23) and let us take courage (Ezra 7:28)!

  40. Tina says:

    MERCY.. prayerful today, being a day the Lord has made, and mercies are new each day, that TODAY will be a good day, wrapped in blessings, and supernatural help from our Father God, in the catching up off time lost yesterday..

    Happy Tuesday!❤️

  41. Tina says:

    ALISA W.. you are in the wars..

    BUT GOD..
    He’s got this. He is with you. His Word says He is a faithful God, and that He provides and cares for His children.. trust in Him, He WILL bring you through, for His Glory..
    Will continue to pray.. x

  42. Alisa W says:

    Great devotional, Yana. I definitely know I fall into the delusion that I’ve been saved for a peaceful life. Which I have, but not the kind of peace I’m after. I’m to always have the peace of Christ, but I’m not promised peace in this life.

    Thanks to all who prayed for me a couple weeks ago. Not sure what my son was sick with, as no one else in the family got it, but he fully recovered in 24 hours. It was a long night though. So glad it wasn’t appendicitis.

    We still don’t have our car. The garage that we have a warranty at says they can’t get the part. We didn’t buy a car to have it sit for 4 weeks!

    No progress on our house situation. It’s hard when people say they will take on a job (inspecting the house) and then you can’t get ahold of them since! We wanted this specific guy as he has more knowledge as we have this other document we need to fill out for a grant, but it’s not looking like he’ll actually do it.

    My the peace that passes all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.