|Church School Lesson: Generous Gifts|
July 28, 2013
Background: Ezra 8:24-30; Print: Ezra 8:24-30;
Key Verse: Ezra 8:28; Devotional: Mark 12:38-44
24 And I separated twelve of the leaders of the priests--Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them--
25 and weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the articles, the offering for the house of our God which the king and his counselors and his princes, and all Israel who were present, had offered.
26 I weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, silver
27 twenty gold basins worth a thousand drachmas, and two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold.
28 And I said to them, "You are holy to the LORD; the articles are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD God of your fathers.
29 Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders of the priests and the Levites and heads of the fathers' houses of Israel in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the LORD."
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.
Ezra Chapter 8 (Commentary)
Ezra knew God's promises to protect
his people, but he didn't take them for granted. He also knew that God's
blessings are appropriated through prayer; so Ezra and the people humbled
themselves by fasting and praying. And their prayers were answered. Fasting
humbled them because going without food was a reminder of their complete
dependence on God. Fasting also gave them more time to pray and meditate on
Too often we pray glibly and superficially. Serious prayer, by contrast, requires concentration. It puts us in touch with God's will and can really change us. Without serious prayer, we reduce God to a quick-service pharmacist with painkillers for our every ailment.
Six hundred fifty talents of silver would be about 25 tons. This was a large amount of treasure to transport, with or without a detachment of soldiers for protection.
Every object used in temple service was consecrated to God; each was considered a holy treasure to be guarded carefully and set apart for his special use. Stewardship means taking special care of whatever God has entrusted to you. This means considering what God has given to you as being from him and for his use. What has God entrusted to your care?