Friday, July 26, 2013

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday July 28, 2013
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GIFTS FOR THE TEMPLE
(Consecrate your gifts to GOD)
(Ezra 8:24-36)

After praying for traveling grace, Ezra appointed twelve leaders of the priests (each representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel), including Sherebiah and Hashabiah to be in charge of transporting the silver, gold, and other items that King Artaxerxes, his council, and other leaders, and, the people of Israel had given for the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem. Ezra carefully weighed the treasure, cataloged it, and gave it to the men to transport. This is the full measure of his account;

·         24 tons of silver
·         7,500 pounds of silver utensils
·         7,500 pounds of gold
·         20 gold bowls that were equal in value to 1,000 gold coins
·         2 fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold

And then Ezra gave the priests this message; “You and these treasures have been set apart (consecrated) as “holy to the LORD”. This silver and gold is a “freewill offering” to the LORD, the GOD of our ancestors. Guard these treasures well until you present them, without an ounce lost, to the leading priests, the Levites, and the leaders of Israel at the storerooms of the LORD’s Temple in Jerusalem”.
And so they broke camp at the Ahava Canal, and embarked on their 900-mile journey to Jerusalem. It was a journey that would take the better part of four months. And the LORD protected them and secured them from the enemies and bandits along the way, because they invited HIM in and sought HIS help at the beginning of their travels.
Whenever we call on GOD at the start of any “Christian journey”, or endeavor, HE will abide with us all along the way, and deliver us safely to our destination. We must continue on our Christian journey, with a faith that is unwavering, even when we are faced with the trials and tribulations that we will surely encounter, because we are going against the grain of this world.     


After arriving in Jerusalem, they rested for three days, and on the fourth day, the treasures were weighed at the Temple of GOD and entrusted to Meremoth and Eleazar the priests, and to Jozabad and Noadiah the Levites. Everything was accounted for, both in number, and in weight, and was officially recorded.
Afterwards, all the people, who returned from exile with Ezra, and all the Jewish residents of Jerusalem gathered together as “a show of the unity of GOD’s people”, and they sacrificed burnt offerings to GOD, all the day long. They presented up to HIM;

·         Twelve oxen (as burnt offering)
·         Ninety-six rams
·         Seventy-seven lambs
·         Twelve goats (as sin offering)    

After finishing up with all spiritual matters concerning GOD, then, King Artaxerxes decrees were delivered to his officials in the province west of the Euphrates River, who then showed their full cooperation to the people of Israel, and to the Temple of GOD.
Ezra was a faithful steward of what GOD had entrusted him with, and the people freely gave back to GOD, those gifts that came from the excesses of their blessings from HIM. They all responded in the “right way” with their “time”, “talents”, and “treasures”, and thereby, set a wonderful early biblical example for all Christians, for all time.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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