These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon…
I. THAT IT IS PREPARED BY COMING OUT FROM A HUMILIATING CAPTIVITY. "This is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon" (ver. 1). Ezra and his comrades must quit the scene of their captivity before they can carry the sacred vessels to Jerusalem; the Church must arise and leave its moral Babylon before it can serve God in successful enterprise.
II. THAT IT IS PREPARED BY PRAYERFUL SOLITUDE. "To the river that runneth to Ahava" (ver. 15).
1. Sacred solitude. Not the solitude of the misanthrope.
2. Prayerful solitude. Seeking guidance before setting out for Jerusalem.
3. Thoughtful solitude. Counting the cost of the journey to Jerusalem.
4. Active solitude. Ezra inspected the people and the priests, and finding none of the sons of Levi, successfully sent for them.
5. Friendly solitude. The companionships of heaven were with Ezra and his company by the river. Such solitude cannot fail to prepare the Church for duty.
III. THAT IT IS PREPARED BY THE PROVIDENTIAL GIFT OF TALENT (ver. 18).
1. Talent required. Ezra inspected his company. God requires ability in the work of his Church. Ministers should see that the Church has the requisite capability for its work.
2. Talent varied. "The people, the priests, the Levites." The Church needs combined capabilities; the lower as well as the higher; the Levites as well as the priests.
3. Talent absent. "And found there none of the sons of Levi."
4. Talent sought. Ministers should endeavour to bring talent into the Church.
5. Talent obtained providentially. "And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding." Thus God prepares the Church for duty.
IV. THAT IT IS PREPARED BY THE ENERGY OF ONE DEVOUT MAN. "And I gathered them together" (ver. 15). Who was this man? He was a "ready scribe." He had "prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord" (Ezra 7:10). Such men are competent to prepare the Church for duty; they have first prepared themselves.
1. The power of sanctified individuality in the Church.
2. The use God makes of a sanctified individuality in the Church.
3. The wisdom of a sanctified individuality in the Church. It discovers the absent Levites.
4. The authority of a sanctified individuality in the Church. It sends for the Levites and they come. - E.
Parallel VersesKJV: These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king.