“Ezra.” If you’re familiar with the Old Testament of the Bible, you remember the name. “Shecaniah”? Probably not. But here’s something we all need to understand: the “Ezras” of the world desperately need the “Shecaniahs.”
While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law. Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. (Ezra 10:1-5)
Ezra has a book of the Bible named after him. Shecaniah doesn’t. Ezra was known by Artaxerxes, the king of Persia. Shecaniah wasn’t. Ezra is remembered for standing before a great assembly of people and reading the Book of the Law of Moses for hours, leading the nation of Israel to repentance and restoration. Shecaniah isn’t.
But in Ezra 10, Shecaniah-the-nobody made a difference in the life of Ezra-the-leader.
- He gave the gift of perspective to Ezra. “Even now there is hope.”
- He encouraged Ezra. “Arise.”
- He reminded Ezra. “It is your task.”
- He strengthened Ezra. “We are with you.”
- He inspired Ezra. “Be strong and do it.”
Then Ezra arose.
Your name might not be known by the masses. Your reputation may not open doors of power. Your biography probably won’t be written. But you can make a difference today if you take the time to encourage, remind, strengthen, and inspire someone else. The “Ezras” of the world still need the “Shecaniahs.”
How can you follow in Shecaniah’s footsteps and encourage someone else this week?