Ezra 2:68-69 When they arrived at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings towards the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.
When you think about it, this was a pretty remarkable offering. These people were described as “heads of families,” but those families had been in exile for over 70 years. Half a ton of gold and 3 tons of silver is a lot of money! Perhaps this reinforces the veracity of the Book of Esther, where in chapter 9 it describes the triumph of the Jews over their enemies. It says they “didn’t lay their hands on the plunder,” (Esther 9:10, 15, 16) but I wonder if the government didn’t give them the resources of their enemies, rather than it being “plunder.” In any case, these heads of families had a lot of money at this point, and they gave it for the rebuilding of the temple. It certainly wasn’t enough for the total cost, but it was a start, and they did what they could. God later provided the rest of the resources they needed through the Persian government, actually, but these believers were given the opportunity and privilege of giving what they could. The principle of giving in proportion to what we have been given is repeated in the New Testament. (2 Corinthians 9:7) God never asks us for anything He hasn’t given us in the first place, and He gives us the privilege of participating in His “supply chain.”
This is extremely close to home for us right now. We first began to believe that we would be able to purchase land next door to build a senior-care facility when one of the believers said they wanted to give the money to buy the land, when some major funds came in this month (which was over a year in the future at that point). Recently we found out that they had been mistaken as to the timing of the funds coming in, but meanwhile we had signed a contract and made a down payment on the land. Part of what they were expecting has come in, but now they are having second thoughts about giving what they have available. That is certainly frustrating, but it teaches us to rely on God and not people. If they hang onto what they have promised, they are keeping company with Ananias and Sapphira, (Acts 5) and that is dangerous company indeed! I am not to threaten, but I am to make it very clear that they aren’t dealing simply with people, but with God. I need God’s anointing and wisdom in talking with them, that they may be liberated from this trap the devil has set for them. God will provide all we need, but we all need to get in line with Him.
Father, as You have reminded me, I can’t change anyone, but You can. I continue to pray for each of the people involved in this project that they would recognize Your leading and follow it. May we all rejoice to participate in what You are doing, in whatever way You direct, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!