God changed the heart of the king and caused him rebuilding the temple

Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king Artaxerxes. With him came some of the Israelites and some of the priests, the Levites, the attendants, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants, Ezra 7:1,7-9. He was a descendant of Aaron, vs 5, and a scribe who was skilled in the law of Moses, vs 6. The king supplied him with everything he requested, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him, vs 6. Ezra had dedicated himself to the study of the law of the Lord, to its observance, and to teaching its statutes and judgments in Israel. Indeed, what a wonderful introduction to a priest of God!

He sought to teach the statutes to others only after studying and observing them himself.

No wonder God gave Ezra favour and success at every step of his mission, vs 6,9,14-28! The names of the leaders who returned with Ezra and those enrolled with them by genealogy, are listed in Ezra 8:1-14.

On observing that no Levites were present on his team, Ezra promptly sent men to Iddo and his relatives, who were the temple servants in Casiphia, and thus a number of Levites were added to their number too, vs 15-20. On being embarrassed to request soldiers and horsemen from the king to protect them from the enemy along the way, because we had said to the king, “The good hand of our God is on everyone who is seeking Him, but His great anger is against everyone who forsakes Him.”, they fasted and sought the Lord Himself for their much-needed protection, and needless to say, they received the same and safely reached their destination, vs 21-23,31,32.
On hearing that the people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites had not separated themselves from the local residents, who practiced detestable things, but infact, even entered into marriage alliances with them, Ezra was shocked, and so, he deeply repented before God on their account*, Ezra 9:1-15!

On seeing his pain and heartfelt repentance on their behalf, they all repented too and agreed to set the matter right, Ezra 10:1-12, with the exception of 4 people who refused to repent, vs 15! God chose a man like Ezra to do a great work for him in leading God’s people back to repentance and walking in the fear of the Lord during this time.

It must be noted that at some point during King Artaxerxes reign, the work had come to a grinding halt, Ezra 4:7-24! However, in the 7th year of his reign, king Artaxerxes not only commanded Ezra and God’s people to go to Jerusalem, but also made magnanimous provisions available to help them out in getting the temple built and restarting therein, the offering of sacrifices too, Ezra 7:11-28.

Thus we see that on account of the prayer, burden, commitment and dedication of men like Ezra and others, God changed the heart of the king and caused him to work towards rebuilding the temple and city of the Most High God! Even as God finds in our midst such people like Ezra, He will surely do the same today, for us too!

Let us believe this and live accordingly, so that we and our children can have the marvellous privilege of seeing the mighty works of God in our generation, because God will then extend his favour towards us, and will make our endeavours successful, just like He did for Ezra and Moses too in answer to their prayer, Psalm 90:16,17! Amen.

Rowena Thomas
Mumbai, India.