Skip to main content

Connect the Testaments

June 19: The Story behind the Story
Ezra 7:1–8:36; 1 John 4:1–6; Psalm 107:1–22
The Bible is full of unexpected moments. Some events seem almost coincidental, where people are in the right place at the right time. This is exactly the case with Ezra.
In ancient times, it was unusual for a king to honor a foreigner with a decree. It was even stranger for a king to offer his own wealth to help such a foreigner. Yet that’s what happened to Ezra: King Artaxerxes of Persia sent Ezra, and any Israelite willing to go with him, to his own land (and the people living there) with the blessing of silver and gold (Ezra 7:11–28).
The Bible doesn’t give the reason for Artaxerxes’ spontaneous generosity. He may have been motivated by politics, trying to gain the allegiance of the Israelites, govern the population in Babylonia, or inhabit a new land to control the native people there. Yet the most convincing reason for his actions seems to be that his heart was moved.
While the text doesn’t explicitly say, it appears that Yahweh motivated Artaxerxes to do not only the right thing, but the selfless thing. For at least this brief moment, Artaxerxes was compassionate and empathetic. He understood that God’s people needed to practice their religion freely and worship Him in their own land.
Ezra’s involvement in these events wasn’t a matter of chance. God intended for him to be there, in that moment, to do that work. His providential work was part of every step.
How have you been intentionally placed to do God’s work? What influence can you use for His kingdom?
John D. Barry


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Threshing Floor

A Threshing Floor
In the ancient world, farmers used threshing floors to separate grain from its inedible husk (chaff) by beating it with a flail or walking animals on it—sometimes while towing a threshing sledge. Sledges were fitted with flint teeth to dehusk the grain more quickly. Other workers would turn the grain over so that it would be evenly threshed by the sledge.

My Utmost for His Highest

July 1st The inevitable penalty Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the uttermost farthing.Matthew 5:26. “There is no heaven with a little of hell in it.” God is determined to make you pure and holy and right; he will not allow you to escape for one moment from the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. He urged you to come to judgment right away when He convicted you, but you did not; the inevitable process began to work and now you are in prison, and you will only get out when you have paid the uttermost farthing. ‘Is this a God of mercy, and of love?’ you say. Seen from God’s side, it is a glorious ministry of love. God is going to bring you out pure and spotless and undefiled; but He wants you to recognize the disposition you were showing—the disposition of your right to yourself. The moment you are willing that God should alter your disposition, His re-creating forces will begin to work. The moment you realize God’s purpose, which is to get you …

Revised Common Lectionary

Sunday, July 9, 2017 | After Pentecost Proper 9 Year A


Old Testament & Psalm, Option I Old TestamentGenesis 24:34–38, 42–49, 58–67 Psalm Psalm 45:10–17 or Song of Solomon 2:8–13 or Old Testament & Psalm, Option II Old Testament Zechariah 9:9–12 Psalm Psalm 145:8–14 New Testament Romans 7:15–25a Gospel Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30

Revised Common Lectionary. Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2009. Print.