Nations are destroyed because of various reasons. A hurricane, a tornado, or military battles leave homes, businesses, schools and even churches destroyed. After these destructive events there must be a period of rebuilding.
Sometimes people are spiritually destroyed and they need to be rebuilt. An example is the nation of Israel. When they were finally destroyed physically by the Babylonian nation and the majority of them taken as captives to a foreign land, they were also spiritually destroyed because they had forgotten their God and what He wanted them to do as it relates to their daily living and their worship to Him.
After being in captivity for 70 years, a group of about 50,000 Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple of God. This group was given this opportunity by and with the blessings of the Persian king Cyrus. Once they arrived in Jerusalem the first thing they built was an altar to God so they could worship Him. Over the next several years and while suffering persecution from the people who were around them, the temple was finally rebuilt. They had a physical place to worship, but were they rebuilt spiritually?
Two very special people, Ezra and Nehemiah, come from the Persian king who have a great hand in rebuilding Israel spiritually. Nehemiah was a leader of the people in rebuilding the city walls, but he also had a great hand in helping Ezra teach the people the word of God as written down by Moses (Ezra 7:6).
Ezra, a priest of God, “set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). His knowledge of the word of God was acknowledged by “Artaxerxes king of Persia” and was commissioned by this king to return to Jerusalem and among other things to teach the people the law of God (Ezra 7:25). This non-Jewish king realized the Israelites needed to be rebuilt spiritually.
One day, Ezra stood before the people for several hours and read from the law of God while the people listened attentively. This was followed by Ezra and others giving “the explanation” of the law so the people could understand God’s law.
As we think about our community and churches, “Do we need an Ezra who will bring us the law of God?” “Are there people in our community and churches who are willing to teach and explain so that we can understand the message of God?” We need people like Ezra who have the talents and the willingness to study, practice and teach the law of God so that we can be living God’s way.
Carlton G. McPeak is an evangelist working in the Florida Gateway region. All Scriptural quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Holman Bible Publishers, unless otherwise stated. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.