“Ask Uncle Ezra” – was an advice column in online format at my university for years. The letters were reposted anonymously for people to both get information and advice. It obviously was a take-off from “Dear Abby”, but super focused on the college community. It was SO useful, especially for stressed college kids. Ezra founded the school in a time that was indicative of how the close knit community combined laborers and scholars. It still does. Ezra wanted a place where anyone could get an education on anything. These people thrive on the desire to educate and be educated.
Ezra in the Bible, from the old testament, ALSO participated in education, and was said to be author of the book of Chronicles as well as his own chapter “Ezra”… Ask “Chronicler Ezra” and he could tell you that the people were devoted because God made them that way. And having been reading methodically thru the old testament Chronicles, I can now see that in this chapter that we have entered a time where both regular ancient scholars and biblical scholars have info, and they are talking about great superpower rises and falls. This section of the Bible is about 500 years before Jesus came to earth. There are references for scholars and ruins for archeologists. They support God’s Word. There is real stuff we can touch and especially real Word we can understand. Jesus walked into a scene of people losing their way. Some found it in Him.
God, from Moses’s time was either ignored or praised – just like now – and this often depended upon the kings who led their people, urging them to give devotions of praise and sacrificial offerings. (Samuel the prophet warned that if people made kings rather than devote themselves to God, they would be treated badly. Yeah, they were). Unfortunately not enough people nor the kings of the divided kingdom “asked prophets” or listened to the prophecy, and got swept away to Babylon. They DID have the “reposts” records of the previous kings and prophets but did not head to what they heard. Then 400 years before Jesus, the prophets grew silent.
In Ezra’s writings, the remnants of King David’s line got taken away by the invading Babylon armies of King Nebuchadnezzar. When Cyrus, the Persian king, came to power, and conquered Babylon, the Lord placed it on his heart to help them return to Jerusalem. Not everyone did, but some went to re-set up the temple, Solomon’s temple. I am amazed that I will read more into these times again in the next chapters, I didn’t know the old testament were really testaments! Over and over we get the Word weaved into a deeper story, always about God’s Promises and provisions.
I was intrigued that the end of Chronicles 36 had the exact writing of the beginning of Ezra: ” In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’”
Why rebuild the temple? Because God placed His Name in it… Because the Light of the world was going to come from David’s descendants… Because God said so… (read back to Solomon’s time)
Ask “Chronicler Ezra” and he could tell you that the people who were devoted were: “everyone whose heart God had moved“... Can you imagine if WE ACTIVELY SEARCHED OUT GOD IN OUR HEARTS how much more advice we would get?!!! If we humbled ourselves in prayer and said “I don’t know Lord, I need help.” Or “Lord, open up the eyes of my heart to see Your Purpose over mine.”… Imagine…
As for HIGHER education, let us “Ask the Lord”… Let’s search Him where and when He can be found (and yes, His re-posts are all ONLINE too)
2nd Chronicles 7:12-20
And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.
Cyrus Helps the Exiles to Return
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’”
Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites—everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.
Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god. Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
This was the inventory:
gold dishes 30
silver dishes 1,000
silver pans 29
gold bowls 30
matching silver bowls 410
other articles 1,000
In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along with the exiles when they came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Matthew 7:7-20, Jesus said:
Ask, Seek, Knock
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The Narrow and Wide Gates
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
True and False Prophets
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.