LESSON 1, VERSE 24:
There was a job to do!
A trip had to be made.
A group of God's people were traveling from Babylon to
Jerusalem, a distance of about seven hundred miles!
God had prophesied this journey seventy years earlier.
Jeremiah wrote: "For thus saith the
LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will
visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you
to return to this place." Jeremiah 29:10
And they were taking with them a treasure!
One consisting of gold and silver and vessels, all to further
the work of God back in Israel.
Ezra, the leader, needed several godly men ... Priests of Israel
... to transport and guard the valuables!
Here is Ezra, in his own words:
"Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah,
Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them ...."
Here are some "chief priests" who loved the Lord!
That's quite unlike those of Jesus' day!
Notice that these men were "separated" unto the work!
The verb here, "badal," is used about 42 times in Scripture.
It can mean "to set apart" or "to withdraw" or "to divide or
To serve God in any meaningful capacity, one must
"come out from among them, and be ye
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ...."
2nd Corinthians 6:17
Talk about Bible "separation" or "consecration" or "dedication!"
Then look at the verse again. Twelve men were chosen, but
only two were mentioned by name. In every area of God's
work, leadership must be a factor.
The leaders were Sherebiah and Hashabiah.
The first name is unusual! We only meet him in the Old
Testament Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. According to
reliable sources the name means "Jehovah has scorched."
It is I believe a picture of what the Jews have endured for
seventy years, years of punishment and deprivation and
chastisement ... due to their sins!
Then Hashabiah means "Jehovah has considered." Although
God on occasion "whips" his children, it is always a "measured"
Never more than we can bear!
These men's names represent lessons that should have been well
learned in Babylon ... and ought also to be carried back home to
And then the nameless brethren, whose numbers are vast, comprise the
majority of laborers ... faithfully doing their assigned jobs!
"And then of their brethren with them ...." Ezra
Thank God for responsible servants of the Lord!
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye
stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the
Lord." 1st Corinthians 15:58
"And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
"Moreover it is required in stewards, that
a man be found faithful." 1st Corinthians 4:2
"Most men will proclaim every one his own
goodness: but a faithful man who can find?" Proverbs 20:6
It sure sounds like God places a high value on faithfulness!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 2, VERSE 25:
weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels,
even the offering of the house of our God, which the king,
and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there
present, had offered.”
These men were
carefully entrusted with some precious material!
Gold, silver and
some vessels are all named.
"Gold" in Hebrew is spelled "zahab"
and in the King James Bible is translated as "gold" or "golden"
388 times and as "fair weather" one time!
That last one is located in Job 37:22.
weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.”
Perhaps one of our "treasures" is that of a sweet spirit and
Yet again the noun "gold" is first used in Genesis 2:11-12.
There was much gold in the land of Havilah, which means
"circle!" That's a picture of eternity! Think of the
gold in Heaven today!
"Silver" in Hebrew is "keseph" and is found 403 times in
Scripture. But, 112 of those occurrences finds the word
Men of God, people of God ... we MUST handle money in the right
By the way, "silver" is associated with redemption in the Bible
too. Peter, with that thought in mind, said:
"Ye were not redeemed with corruptible
things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation
received by tradition from your fathers; but with the
precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and
without spot." 1st Peter 1:18-19
The doctrine of redemption, Blood redemption, must be handled
carefully and reverently!
Then the "vessels" are mentioned. "Kaliy" is used in
Scripture in the following ways: instruments, weapons, jewels,
armour and even stuff!
are to care for our ministries and God assigned responsibilities
with the utmost vigilance. Some saints are jewels
and others are weapons ... in the Lord's Hands!
Then notice that all these things, these valuables, are gifts
from God through the hands of others!
we enjoy today is indeed from the mighty Hand of God!
us be careful how we guard it!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 3, VERSES
in the first person relates:
"I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of
silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, and of
gold an hundred talents; also twenty basons of gold, of a
thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as
"weigh" means to pay or to spend!
"hand" translates "yad," a simple Hebrew word with many great
implications! It's the "root" of the Name Judah even!
Therefore it also is the foundation for one of the Hebrew nouns
The same godly
hands that carry the treasures should praise the Lord!
"Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I
will lift up my hands in Thy Name" promises Psalm 63:4.
"hands" can also be associated with the Word of God too.
"My hands also will I lift up unto thy
commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy
statutes." Psalm 119:48
The amount of
silver given the Priests to safety transport was 650 talents!
A talent is about a hundred pounds of weight! That's
65,000 pounds of silver! In other words, it's a load of
1,040,000 ounces! At today's value of over $9.00 an ounce,
that's a lot of value! It equates to nine and a third
"talent," from the Hebrew word meaning a "circle," was likely
shaped like a round disc for easier handling. That's how
it got its name.
Plus ... in
addition to the "cash" ... a hundred more talents of silver
But now, watch
Gold in the
amount of a hundred talents was presented to these men for safe
keeping as well! At $569.00 an ounce, yesterday's
market price, we are declaring another ninety one million
A "dram" is a
small measurement of weight, taking 16 of them to make one
ounce! A vessel that weighed a "thousand
drams" would equal nearly four pounds. There were twenty
of these ... 80 more pounds of silver!
"copper" is their word for brass. The two lovely
(desirable) vessels of copper were not assigned a specific
All total ...
over a hundred million dollars!
What a help
this no doubt was in the building of the House of God and the
re-establishing of a godly nation back in the Holy Land!
today, I do not want this to be a math lesson!
It is a symbol
of the worth you carry in your innermost being as a Believer in
The gold of
God the Holy Spirit resides within you!
The silver of
redemption rests upon you!
And you are a
chosen vessel of service for your Lord and Master!
Be careful ...
you are precious in His sight!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 4, VERSE
states: "And I said unto them, Ye are holy
unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the
gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers."
of the Lord are required to be holy.
That word, "qodesh"
in Hebrew, means dedicated, hallowed or consecrated.
and utensils themselves certainly had been "set apart" tot he
"Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from
thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of
her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD." Isaiah
"clean" translates "barar" which means pure or polished or
In its verbal
form, "qodesh" means "sanctified."
are to be sanctified!
ministry performed by the Holy Spirit in this age of Grace.
Plus ... the
holy vessels are a "freewill offering" from the people unto the
God loves such
motives in our giving!
(freewill offering) means that which is freely or plentifully or
notice that the offerings are "to the Lord God of your fathers."
This expression is imbued with old fashioned values!
sounds like modernism or the contemporary views of some who
emphasize a user-friendly God!
with the faith of the forefathers!
I don't want
to move any of the ancient landmarks!
I do not fear
being labeled an old fashioned Bible believing fundamentalist!
The closer we
live to the God of our fathers ... the more apt we are to guard
the deposit given us, the gold silver and precious vessels of
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 5, VERSE
Paul reminded Timothy that some things had been placed "in" him
by the Holy Spirit! "Neglect not the
gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the
laying on of the hands of the presbytery." 1st
Paul even went
further and said that the saints of God have a "treasure"
invested in them by the Lord. He was, among other things,
talking about the Gospel! "But we
have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of
the power may be of God, and not of us." 2nd
Then the old
Preacher said to his young "son" in the ministry:
"O Timothy, keep that which is committed
to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and
oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing
have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee."
1st Timothy 6:20-21
another way he said about the same thing: "That
good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost
which dwelleth in us." 2nd Timothy 1:14
The basic word
picture behind all these verses is identical to that of Ezra
8:24-30. The people of God, particularly including his
Preachers, have been entrusted with precious treasure! We
must care for it and guard it ... until the battle is over and
we are all "home!"
Ezra 8:29, for
example, says to the Priests who are transporting millions of
dollars in gold, silver and vessels:
"Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them
before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and chief of
the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the
house of the LORD."
"watch" is a command, an imperative. It means to stay
awake or alert! It is only found 12 times in the whole
Bible! It is translated "hasten" once in Scripture,
Jeremiah 1:12. Here's one of my favorite occurrences of
the word. Wisdom says:
"Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my
gates, waiting at the posts of my doors." Proverbs
"Keep" is "shamar"
and means "to hedge about" ... hence "to guard." Other
King James renderings of the word: mark, save, regard,
heed and preserve.
Then our verse
reminds the Priests that they must answer for their handling of
these valuables! "Until ye weigh
them before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and
chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem." You
men will be held accountable!
friends and Preachers, we will all have to stand before our Lord
at the Judgment Seat and be held accountable for our
we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
1st Corinthians 3:12
... "We must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things
done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be
good or bad." 2nd Corinthians 5:10
with your "deposit!"
those Old Testament Priests carried were headed for the House of
God! "In the chambers of the house
of the LORD." Ezra 8:29d
So are ours
... the Father House, where there are many mansions!
The noun for
"chambers" in Ezra is "lishkah" and means cells, halls or rooms.
You may remember that all around Solomon's Temple were build
storage rooms for supplies for the work of the Lord!
Yes, it is
possible to send one's investment on over to the Other Side, to
Glory, to Heaven! Jesus said so!
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon
earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break
through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in
heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where
thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure
is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:19-21
with your investment!
not yours ... but the Lord's!
You are just a
steward, a caretaker!
That's why we
all so badly want to hear the blessed words:
"Well done, thou good and faithful
servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make
thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy
Lord." Matthew 25:21
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 6, VERSE
records: "So took the priests and the
Levites the weight of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels,
to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God."
These Men of
God accepted the "call" of God!
the treasures and began the long dangerous trip to Jerusalem.
"took," in Hebrew "qabal," is only used a dozen or so times in
the whole Bible! It means to receive or accept. It
is shaped as a Piel verb, indicating intensity and fervency of
And the verb
"bring" is interesting too. "Bo" in Hebrew means to "come"
or to "go" to a certain place.
notice the italicized them in the English text.
knew that if the treasures were ever to successfully arrive in
Jerusalem ... they, all twelve of them, must arrive there too!
guaranteed the security of the godly load they carried!
Men of God, we
will never take our people any further than we ourselves are
willing to go!
finally in town, the capital city, Jerusalem, the city of peace
... where do they report?
To the House
where the Believer will find himself!
Every new city
Paul entered, he found the place where the saints gathered!
That is, if there were any saints in town!
it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having
passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding
disciples ...." Acts
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves
together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
these men had!
"I can do all
things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace
of God which was with me."
toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in
little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ
be formed in you ...."
May we have
the same firmness of will!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
months later, they arrived!
with the treasures safely in tow!
meticulously records the journey.
"Then we departed from the river of Ahava
on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto
Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered
us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the
way. And we came to Jerusalem ...." Ezra 8:31-32
Then he adds
... "Now on the fourth day was the silver
and the gold and the vessels weighed in the house of our God by
the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest; and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them was
Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui,
Levites; by number and by weight of every one: and all
the weight was written at that time." Ezra 8:33-34
All the silver
and gold and vessels are there!
Not an ounce
notice that such matters were written in a book!
And ... for
these twelve Men of God ... no doubt respect and honor were
extended to them all their days!
Men who safely
delivered the $100,000,000.00 offering!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION:
It is my
heart's desire that, after all, I can deliver the "deposit" God
has entrusted to me! Placing it before His Feet on that
great Day of His Coming! At the Judgment Seat of Christ!
guarded the precious Word of God" I would like to say!
And the Virgin
Birth was preached faithfully by these lips!
Along with all
the fundamentals of the Faith!
And here are a
few "preacher boys" you gave me! They have been true unto
Thee as well!
And my wife
and family, saved by Thy Grace!
All to Thy
"to the praise of the glory of Thy grace!"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell