June 28, 2018: Day 75 – Ezra 8

We get an accounting of the people of God who traveled with Ezra.  We find the heads of the families and they are just about to depart when Ezra realizes that they don't have nearly enough people from the house of Levi, from the priestly families.  So he calls in a favor and he finds himself 12 heads of household from the family of Levi to come with him out of Babylon and into Jerusalem. We hear from Ezra that he had spoken so highly of the God of Israel that when the king had offered protective soldiers to go along with them, that he had refused referring to the promise that the Lord had made that He would protect them.  It seems almost as if Ezra is second guessing himself  and maybe even sorry that he hadn't taken the king up on his generous offer.  As a result we see that he declares a time of fasting and prayer in order to ask for the Lord's protection for their unprotected journey into Jerusalem.   We read that they fasted and then they traveled for three days to reach Jerusalem and the Lord protected them from any ambushes.  It was considered an answer to prayer and an answer to their fasting.  Much emphasis is also placed on the silver and gold that the people brought from Babylon back to Jerusalem.  Remember, this was the gold and the silver that had originally been plundered from the temple so it was really returning to its proper home.  Amazing how over time whenever there is a war and a people is conquered, plunder takes place.  I think of all the precious art work and all the precious gold that the Nazi's took as they made their way through Europe.  Once again, much of that was taken from the Jewish community which lost all property under that regime.  The more things change...
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