The People Gave What They Could

Giving

An account was kept of the families that came up out of captivity. See how sin lowers a nation, which righteousness would exalt! (vv. 36-63). Those who undervalue their relation to the Lord in times of reproach, persecution, or distress, will have no benefit from it when it becomes honorable or profitable. Those who have no evidence that they are, by the new birth, spiritual priests unto God, through Jesus Christ, have no right to the comforts and privileges of Christians. (vv. 64-70). Let none complain of the needful expenses of their religion. Seek first the kingdom of God, his favor and his glory, then will all other things be added unto them.

Their offerings were nothing, compared with the offerings of the princes in David’s time; yet, being according to their ability, were as acceptable to God. The Lord will carry us through all undertakings entered on according to his will, with an aim to his glory, and dependence on his assistance. Those who, at the call of the gospel, renounce sin and return to the Lord, shall be guarded and guided through all perils of the way, and arrive safely at the mansions provided in the holy city of God.

The governor mentioned here was probably Zerubbabel (v. 63). The Urim and Thurmin were two objects shaped like stones which originally carried the garments worn by the high priests. It is thought that “the most holy things” refers to the meat sacrificed on the altar and food that only the priests could eat. As the temple construction progressed everyone contributed freewill offerings according to his or her ability (v. 68). Everyone’s effort and cooperation were expected and the people gave as much as they could. Drachmas and minas were gold and silver coins (v. 69). The money given was enough to start the rebuilding of the temple. These people were enthusiastic givers but the building of this temple would never match the splendor of Solomon’s temple.

Application

The people who support our ministry are just as important as we who are physically involved.

Ezra 2:59-70 (English Standard Version)

The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, though they could not prove their fathers' houses or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, 652. Also, of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, and the sons of Barzillai (who had taken a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name). These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but they were not found there, and so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until there should be a priest to consult Urim and Thummim. The whole assembly together was 42,360, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337, and they had 200 male and female singers. Their horses were 736, their mules were 245, their camels were 435, and their donkeys were 6,720. Some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site. According to their ability they gave to the treasury of the work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver, and 100 priests' garments. Now the priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel in their towns.

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