Wisdom Wednesday: God-Given Wisdom
Submitted by Debbie’s Dad
And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them.
-Ezra 7:25 (NKJV)
Ezra was a priest, a scribe, and a recognized expert in the words of the commandments and statutes of Yahweh to Israel. (Ezra 7:11). The Book of Ezra describes the return of the priests, Levites, temple servants, and other exiled people of Israel to Jerusalem to restore the temple and return the people in Judah to worship Yahweh. He was commissioned by the Persian King, Artaxerxes to appoint magistrates and judges that would administer and enforce the Law of God in Judea, now under Persian control.
Chapter 7 of Ezra, verses 11-26, is the instruction of the king to Ezra as he prepared to return from exile in Babylon to Jerusalem, a journey of several months. The King ordered:
- Ezra was to take the finances provided by the king from the royal treasury, as well as freewill offerings to provide for worship and sacrifices in Jerusalem. (7:11-20)
- Ezra was authorized to requisition funding from the Persian-controlled governors in Syria. (7:21-23)
- The governors of the Persian-controlled provinces were not to tax the priests, Levites, or temple servants (7:24).
The motive of the king? “Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with zeal for the house of the God of heaven, so that there will not be wrath against the kingdom of the king and his sons.” (Ezra 7:23)
The amazing aspect of the passage above is that it was written by the Persian king, He acknowledges the wisdom of God as exhibited by Ezra:
- The New King James translates “according to your God-given wisdom” (above)
- The New American Standard 1995 translates “according to the wisdom of your God which is in your hand”—this is like verse 14, where he refers to the law of God which is in Ezra’s hand.
In today’s language, we would say that the king acknowledged Ezra as a “man of God”. He devoted his life to studying the word of God, and the pagan king recognized his wisdom and chose him to lead the return team.
May we, like Ezra, be known by unbelievers as men and women with “God-given wisdom”, and people who have the word of God “in our hand”.