Ezra 8:1-36  The Journey!


As we come to Ch.8 of Ezra we see now that Ezra the Priest has been cleared to take a new group back to Jerusalem.

A)Their goal is going to be to institute temple worship and to give instruction to the Pp of God.


B)Zerubbabels group focused on the rebuilding of the temple

1)Ezra is going to focus on the rebuilding of the pp and the system of temple worship in Israel.


C)He is going back with the support and backing and resources of King Artx.


D)Ch.8 is a brief Chronicle of the journey that included 5,000 exiles including women and children.

1)Theme last week “The good hand of our God” is seen 3 more times

   8:18, 8:22, 8:31


RDV.1-14  { God is into names – not a # always records names – takes account of each person


The number of the men listed here is 1,496 plus the 18 heads of families bring the total to 1,514. In the next verses we see 258 Levites and temple servants are added bringing the total of men to 1,772. The women and Children would bring the group to around 5,000.

So this group of 5,000 is setting off on a 900 mile journey across the desert thru hostile territory – but before they get started they stop at the river Ahava for 3 days – [ RETREAT] RDV.15


Ezra 8:15


“Now I gathered them by the river that flows to Ahava, and we camped there three days. And I looked among the people and the priests, and found none of the sons of Levi there.”


Before he starts he takes a good hard look at the situation

The trip will be hard (900 miles)


NOTE: Good advice - BEFORE you take off on a long hard journey, STOP and count the cost.  Builder / General { Always unforeseen challenges

A)Before you take on a new job, move into a ministry, change directions in life, get married.... STOP and LOOK.


B)He saw that there were ZERO Levites with them

     1.)They were CRUCIAL to the return.


C)You can NOT have Temple worship without them.


Where were the Levites? { Still in Babylon

A)These Levites had never seen Jerusalem – they had never seen the temple


B)Born in Babylon – living comfortable in Babylon

Property ranches

C)None of them answered the initial call.

1)From a purely Physical pt of view there wasn’t a lot of motivation for them to go.


D)In Israel they had no inheritance – they were completely supported by the worshippers

1)Quite frankly there weren’t very many of them to support the work


E)They needed to see beyond the temporal to the eternal.


I remember yrs ago – so impressed by something Don McClure did.

A)Pastored in Redlands for 20yrs – built up a successful ministry – comfortable – nice staff- building etc


B)Pastor Chuck approached him about a Church in San Jose – assembly mess – 15 million in debt

1)They wanted to become a Calvary Chapel – help us get a Pastor who will teach


C)Don left Redlands to go and do that – No staff

1)No Salary – they lived in one the rooms at the Church


D)Always respect him for that! –

1)Great example of not being tied to the World 


E)Sometimes Hard to leave the material things that we can see for the immaterial things we can’t see.

1)Hard to leave the Physical in order to live for the eternal


F)Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.  These Levites needed their eyes opened to an eternal perspective

 So there was a lack of Levites        RD V.16-20


I like this because there is a time to pray and there is a time to act.

A)Sometimes there is a need – you pray Lord we need Volunteers


B)Other times you act – grab some guys and say – ok we need to fix this


C)Here Ezra acts – we earlier saw Zerub do the same thing – sent back to Babylon said – send some guys

1) Go find some guys with the right heart


D)There were guys with the right heart who just needed to be encouraged

1)They found one guy – full of insight / understanding who was able to affect the others


E)V.18 – They recognized that the Lord was in His good hand was upon them - - God brought us a man of understanding.


F)God had the right man for the Job! – God’s man God’s place at God’ s time.


                       RD V.21-22


A fast to seek God’s direction for the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.

A)Wow – What a great example!


B)Fasting is denying ourselves of something we usually do in order to use that time to seek the Lord more passionately


C)Food Fast / TV Fast / Friend Fast / Sports fast

1)Normally play B Ball – take that time to seek the Lord


Fasting for what –    Direction for our lives

                          Direction for our kids

Direction on what to do with our stuff our possessions



The Christian life is a journey: We are all moving from Babylon to Jerusalem.

A)This world to heaven – we are walking with the Lord discovering the Lord


B)Learning how to seek the Lord – sometimes it is good to stop – slow down fast

1)Lord I really need to hear from you.


C)Acts 13 Elders at Antioch were ministering to the Lord with prayer and fasting –

1)The Holy Spirit said separate …..


D)Can’t help but think that in our time next week

Prayer and fasting ---- Revelation

1)Direction for our kids

2) Direction for our lives

3)Direction for our possessions




Now the thing that prompted Ezra to initiate this fast was the fact that he realized we are going to be traveling thru some dangerous places

A)We have all this gold and silver and the robbers are going to be out to get us.


B)And because I was bragging about how great our God is I was ashamed to ask the King for an Escort


C)Ever brag about the Lord and then you have to live what you said. –

1)My life – every week – Ok time to practice what you priest – God is faithful – now I have to live that



Now would it have been a sin for Ezra to ask for an Escort ? – No Nehemiah did – part of his request

A)Ezra had a different conviction –


B)I have been in that place – not going to ask for help I need to just trust God


C)But Ezra wasn’t going to [blindly trust] – he saw a problem and needed a solution – so v.23

23 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.


D)God responded when they fasted and prayed

1)Implication in the verses that follow is that God gave Ezra this plan  


                              RD V. 21-29


Ezra divided the wealth – so it was less obvious that they were carrying great riches –

A)Missions trip – pay for all food lodging w/ cash – Love American dollars


B)15K – divide it up – Howard here is 3K to carry Eddie

Trevor etc – 5 guys all carrying that small amount

1)Some of the guys get wide eyed – Strip searched in customs or something


C)These men were to carrying this wealth it was entrusted to them for the Journey – for 4mths

1)When they got to Jerusalem – it would be weighed – and they would give an account


Application for our lives – our Journey!

A)God has entrusted different gifts / talents / resources and responsibilities that we are going to one day at the end of our Journey we are going to give an account


B) But here is the amazing thing – God calls us his workmanship – Eph 2:10

1)Work of art – His Poem – His masterpiece


C)Conveys the idea of affection – artist who is emotionally attached to his painting –

1)Ever Criticize and artist? Architect – oh my ….


D)Different than say someone who works with facts and numbers only – not real emotionally attached

1)Again God names it – Painters give a name for their paintings -  Denise & I art galleries – { Name what saying


Sculptors name their sculptors – singers their songs

Poets their poems -

A)There is an emotional attachment – God says you are my poem – my work of art – my masterpiece


B) I am emotionally attached to you – your not just another face on a fact sheet in a file to me

1)He has emotionally invested in us – Bought with the blood of His own dear son!


C)No I am spending time in molding you shaping you –



So Paul calls us his workmanship ……. Created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared before hand that we should walk in them.

A)So God is emotionally attached to us – Purchased us with the Blood of His son –


B)Created us in Christ – for a purpose – his master plan for us as His workmanship ……..

1)Then he invest of His own treasure in us. – He calls us to a calling – then supplies us with the resources to carry it out


C)He then points us in a direction to use what He has invested in us


D)And then when we get to heaven he rewards us for the things that He did in our lives thru the resources He gave to us –  Can’t beat that !


E) That is a win win situation ! Amazing !


So I want to encourage you- let your hands be His hands and your mouth His mouth – let yourself be His tool – let yourself be His vessel – poor into you & poor you out.


Only difference – When these guys got to the end of their journey – they would go to the house of the Lord and weigh what they were given – better be the same


Goal was don’t lose anything!


At the end of our Journey – God is looking to see what He given to us – INCREASED –

A)What Jesus was referring to – Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves here on earth  - In heaven


B)Take what God has given – use it for His glory and becomes treasure that is multiplied in heaven


B)Parable of the talents – The master commended and rewarded the two who multiplied their talents


C)He wasn’t at all happy with the man who buried his talent –

1)Taken from that man – and he was cast out! Matt 25


D)So the Lord is expecting our talents / treasure He has invested in us to be multiplied


30 So the priests and the Levites received the silver and the gold and the articles by weight, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.


RD V.31-36