A total of 42,360 people returned to Judah, in addition to 7,337 servants and 200 singers, both men and women. EZRA 2:64-65
Many people know about the first Exodus, in which the Jewish people escaped Egypt and eventually came to the Promised Land. The story is told in the first five books of the Old Testament. But the opening pages of the book of Ezra tell about a second exodus, when after seventy years in Babylon, the Jewish people returned to Israel. Ezra tells of two returns. The first was led by Zerubbabel, and the second by Ezra. Chapters 1-6 of Ezra mark the national restoration, and chapters 7-10 detail the spiritual reformation.
Ezra, a direct descendant of Aaron through Eleazar, Phinehas, and Zadok was an educated scribe who taught God's Law to the people. Tradition says that Ezra was the founder of the great synagogue where the Old Testament was formulated and canonized.
The first two chapters of Ezra cover the Israelites' return to the land from which the Babylonians had removed them seventy years earlier. The Medo-Persian Empire was in charge, and the Jews were allowed to return home. You might think a groundswell of enthusiasm would have driven them back to Israel en masse, but that didn't happen. Only about fifty thousand returned, because Babylon had become their home and they felt comfortable raising families there. But they became too settled. During the time of Jesus Christ, a million Jews were still living in Babylon.
Take a lesson from that fact: Are you too comfortable in this world? Does the comfort of your surroundings work against your spiritual fervor? Think about how you respond when you hear of a need for volunteers at church or a financial need for a godly cause. Ask God to touch your heart and keep you from becoming too settled. When you begin to feel a little too comfortable where you are, ask the Lord to fill you with increased spiritual passion.
In His strong love,