Read: Ezra 7:1–8:20
When the Babylonian conquered Israel, they forced the Israelites from their homes and relocated them in foreign territories. While in Babylon, the Israelites who held their faith in God made quite an impression on the Babylonians and their kings (Daniel 3). So much so that when Ezra and Nehemiah were called to return to Jerusalem and rebuild it, the Babylonians provided them with gold and silver and other supplies for the effort. Ezra 7:13-26 is a letter from King Artaxerxes to Ezra listing what the Babylonians would give the Israelites.
Ezra writes in verses 27 and 28, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.”
God wants to bless us. He isn’t a cosmic cop we have to appease with good behavior. He is a father who loves us unconditionally and wants the best for us. Sometimes it’s hard to see blessing in the middle of a tragedy or trial, but God is always working behind the scenes. Just like God worked for the good of his people in the hearts of the Babylonians, God still works for good in our lives even if we can’t see it at the moment. His hand never leaves us.