Some of the Israelites, priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants accompanied him to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. Ezra 7:7 HCSB
I had the privilege of studying in Europe my senior year in college with a group that spent five weeks touring many different sites from London, England to Rome, Italy, to Paris, France. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip that I will never forget. But after being gone for five weeks, I was ready to go home and eat some American food.
It had been eighty years since the first group of Israelites had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. It is estimated that Ezra organized approximately 40,000 people to travel for four months by foot from Babylon to Jerusalem. He went to King Artaxerxes and asked permission to return to his homeland and to take some others with him. The king not only granted his request, but he also sent money, supplies, and items to be used in the temple. Additionally, the king made a decree which could be used like a passport to give the Israelites safe passage back to Jerusalem. Evidently Ezra had access to the king and probably held an important position. He was willing to leave his position in order to lead a group of people to his homeland and to teach them God’s laws. He was ready to go home.
Challenge: Would you be willing to give up your position in order to follow God’s will for your life? Tell God that you want to follow His plan for your life no matter what the cost. Watch how God will use you when you completely surrender your life to Him and His ministry.