Ezra, the author of this book, takes an active role in the story in this passage. During the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra is commissioned to go to Jerusalem and beautify the temple that has been built for Jehovah God, or the God of heaven, as Artaxerxes addresses him. It is explained that Ezra is a direct descendant of Aaron, and as such is a priest, and additionally a scribe, well versed in the laws of God given through Moses. He was allowed to take any priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple slaves (Nethinim) that he chose to Jerusalem. Artaxerxes decreed that all the king’s Counselors should give him all the gold and silver they needed for their purposes. Also, all the subjects of Babylon living in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas should provide all the wheat, oil, bulls, rams, and lambs needed for proper worship at the temple. Ezra blessed the Lord for this favor from the king and went to Jerusalem to carry out the work.
While I do not wish to make this a time- or nation-specific thought, it is appropriate I believe to see the parallel between this situation and the one in which we live today in the United States. There is much hand-wringing about the future of our country in the hands of whoever might become the president of the United States in a few months. While I have my concerns about the direction either of the main candidates may take us, it is important to note here that even a godless nation, Babylon, was used by God to restore the temple in Jerusalem when the Jews repented and obeyed in the land of Babylon. Therefore, it is not the politician, king, or nation that determines the plan of God for your life. It is God Himself. Therefore, regardless of who may be in the White House come January, God will always be on His throne in Heaven as the ultimate authority and determiner of our lives. Trust in Him, stop crying the blues, then pray and believe for revival in the nation. That is what will stem the tide of evil and bring America back to God!