One of the most fundamental leadership truths is that your team will do what they see you model. Read Ezra 9:1-10:44.
After a journey of several months Ezra and the other Jewish exiles arrived in Jerusalem from Babylon. Their first acts were to be accountable to the local officials for the money and gifts they had been given for the city and temple and then to make proper offerings to God at the temple for a safe trip and for His favor. Within just a few days of viewing Ezra’s leadership, knowing Ezra was a teacher of the law and seeing his dedication to give offerings and make sacrifices some of the leaders approached Ezra with a problem. Those most responsible for religious leadership, the priests and Levites, had not kept God’s law to stay separate from those who worshiped false gods and had actually taken pagan wives and allowed their sons to marry women who worshiped false gods.
Christian leaders understand the one true source of their courage. Read Ezra 7:27-28.
Ezra received a letter from King Artaxerxes of Persia allowing him to return to Jerusalem to bring religious revival to the Jews living there. It had been 58 years since the temple in Jerusalem had been completed and worship of the one true God restored to Judea. The problem was that over time the people had compromised their worship and had mixed the religions of the people living around them in the land with their worship of God. Ezra had a major job ahead of him.
Wise leaders recognize wisdom, knowledge and passion in individuals and promote those individuals to positions of authority. Read Ezra 7.
Artaxerxes was the fourth king of Persia to interact with the Jewish people who had been exiled to Babylon by the Babylonians prior to the Persian conquest of Babylon. The Persians were a fairly superstitious people which led to one of the Persian’s national defense policies – allowing a portion of the exiled population of each people group under Babylonian captivity to return to their homeland and establish a national presence and re-establish worship of their god in their homeland. This policy gave the Persians the good will of those returning to their homeland and those from that people group staying in Persian territory, and it gave them physical allies on the perimeter of their nation and the favor of the gods of the people living in these regions.
It requires great skill and God’s blessing for a leader to develop and utilize a network of strong, key relationships while functioning with total dependence on God. Read Ezra 7.
God allowed the first contingent of Jews to return to Judah from their captivity in Babylon in 538 BC when He moved in the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia (see Ezra 1:1-4). Their assignment from God was to resettle the land and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The temple was finished under the leadership of Zerubbabel in 516 BC. According to Ezra 6, after the temple was completed there was a great celebration and the people reinstated the Passover, a festival honoring God for a miracle that had taken place in Egypt many years earlier. During the Passover celebration “…the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the Lord, the God of Israel” (6:21).
I don’t remember the exact quote but in his writings Dwight L. Moody suggested that the greatest tragedy of his day was that Christian leaders attempted to traffic in unlived truths. Leaders cannot give away what they don’t believe and incorporate into their daily lives. Leaders must import truth in a way that changes their daily behavior before they export truth. God-honoring leaders transform their “being” (internal beliefs) which changes their “doing” (daily actions). Read Ezra 7:1-10.
Ezra was a Jewish exile living in Babylon. He was a scribe and priest. A descendant of Aaron, Ezra was trained in the knowledge of the Law of God while still a captive in Babylon. In 458 BC King Artaxerxes commissioned Ezra to return to Jerusalem to bring order among the people of the new community re-settled by Jews under a decree by a former king some 60 years earlier. Artaxerxes saw something in Ezra that would make him trust Ezra with civil and religious authority and significant finances.