by Wally Fry
Monday, March 11
Those Who Returned with Ezra
“These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king,” Ezra 8:1.
When the Jews returned to Jerusalem after seventy years of captivity in Babylon, they did not just all pack up one day and move back; they returned in several stages or waves of returnees. Ezra and the roughly fifteen hundred men, plus families, represented the second wave of those returning. Zerrubabel was the first, Ezra the second and Nehemiah was to be the third. Like those before, Ezra was willing to step out in the face of what must have been extreme uncertainty and execute God’s plan for His people.
It is easy to imagine that many had serious misgivings when various prophets started announcing to them that God had revealed a plan to return to their homeland, and He was looking for those willing to go. The Jews had been in Babylon for seventy years; for some Babylon was their homeland. There were likely at least a couple of generations of Jews who knew nothing of their old homeland other than what the older generations had told them, or perhaps what they had read in accounts of the times. Many were probably quite comfortable and perfectly happy for all things to remain the same.
Even today, we need Zerrubabels, Ezras and Nehemiahs; we need leaders willing to step up and proclaim what God has put in their hearts. We need people willing to respond to those exhortations, leave their comfort zones and step out by faith into the unknown. Where do we stand?