Ezra is well known as an effective leader and manager. He was instrumental in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem in the first return from captivity in Babylon as prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10-11) and interceded for by Daniel (Dan. 9:1-19). This means that what Ezra took part in regarding the rebuilding in Jerusalem was the fulfillment of prophecy brought about by intercession.
So that leads us to looking at Era and why he was chosen. When I read scripture I have a tendency to gloss over genealogies. Numbers is not the first book I think about reading in the Old Testament! Yet the Holy Spirit inspired these passages for a reason and there is some very important information in the passage below.
1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2 the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4 the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest – 6 this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. Ezra 7:1-6 (NKJV)
In reading this we see that Ezra was a scribe, but he was also a priest (Ezra 8:1-2, 9), albeit without a temple to serve in. Ezra’s priestly qualifications came from being a direct descendant of Aaron, Phinehas and Zadok. Aaaron was the first high priest of Israel, Phinehas was his grandson who was jealous for the Lord. Zadok was a priest under David and remained faithful when the nation abandoned David.
A key point is that Yahweh is faithful to honour those who are faithful to Him. We see the background that led to Ezra’s role in the passages below.
10 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’ ” Numbers 25:10-13 (NKJV)
15 “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 44:15 (NKJV)
In Ezra’s lineage, tracing his family back to Zadok and Phinehas, we see that he was put in a position to be instrumental in the restoration and rebuilding at Jerusalem because of the faithfulness his ancestors had demonstrated. The other side of this coin is that I believe Ezra’s being chosen was also connected to his faithfulness to serve Yahweh wherever he was. There were others with the same lineage who were not chosen. Our Father is an efficient historian who has eternal purposes in keeping records.
16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. Malachi 3:16 (NKJV)
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:12-15 (NKJV)
20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20 (NKJV)
So what is my point in all of this? Yahweh is recording the good things we do to honour Him and they will not be forgotten. In addition He seeks to bring forth good things from our family line. If we don’t have a godly family history to draw from then let us start an honourable one that our descendants may draw from ours. It can be be as simple as handing out water. After all what did Jesus say?
42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42 (NKJV)