LETTER OF DELIVERANCE

Ezra leaves us official documentation of the events that opened the door of deliverance to Israel.  This is the evidence and assurance for generations to come that God does deliver his promises in his season.  God may bring us correction, but we are still his children, and his promise is not forgotten.

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,  The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,  The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,  The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,  The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:  Ezra 7:1-5

Ezra is not ashamed to be identified with certainty.  He does not hide his identity or his belief in God.  He proclaims who he is so all can be sure that he is not ashamed to stand for God.  He tells us exactly who he is and where he lives; in the house of faith in God.

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.  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.  And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.  For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.  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.  Ezra 7:6-10

Ezra had a purpose and he set out to fulfill his mission.  He was under orders and had the power of authority to perform his calling.  He had favor with God, and with man.  The letter of the king was just a formality added to the authority of the God who had prepared the way.  The authority of that letter was presented in detail here.

Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel. 

Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.  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.  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;  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,  And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:  Ezra 7:11-16

The king recognizes the God of heaven, but some suggest that he honored more than one God.  At times the world will serve the Lord if only to gain favor with every “god”.  This could be a good political move or possibly a genuine knowledge of God.  In any case the material and political provision is delivered.

That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.  And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.  The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.  And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king’s treasure house. Ezra 7:17-20

This is not a cheap offering, as them vessels are precious metals coming out of the king’s treasury.  Food, materials, and labor are all provided. 

 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,  Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.  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?  Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.  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.  Ezra 7:21-25

I moved to Wyoming to do business free of state taxation.  So Ezra and Israel are also allowed to work tax free.  The authority of judgment and law enforcement are also extended to Ezra.  The power of law was complete to the death penalty too.

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. 

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:  And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.  Ezra 7:26-28

Ezra knows that the king is acting on what God has placed in his heart.  I know that political leaders may not understand God, but they can still be open to obey him.  Whoever is to lead the nations they will have the opportunity to serve God if they are open to him.  Some may resist, but God will always have his way in his time.

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