Ezra Set His Heart
I’ve recently been doing a lot of studying in the book of Ezra. There is so much information to consider in regards to the events place in history, both in the nation’s history and world history. I’m always trying to get a feel for what life was like and the things that were going on and the possibilities of their perception to help the story come to life.
When you come to chapter 7 of Ezra you read of Ezra himself is about to lead the second wave of people back to Jerusalem because the king wanted to send someone to go and set things in order there, to teach the people, and to judge the people based upon the Law of the Lord.
It’s a simple question but vital at the same time: Why send Ezra? What was it about Ezra that the king saw that made him the right choice to take on this leadership and responsibility? Being that Ezra gives God the credit for moving the heart of the king to do this thing, what was it that God saw in Ezra that made him useful in this way?
There is one verse that I believe answers that question and it is found in Ezra 7:10 when he says “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” If you haven’t already, underline or highlight that verse because it is powerful. Ezra set his heart to study God’s law, to live it, and to teach it.
In vss. 6 & 11 of Ezra 7 we’re told that Ezra was a scribe who was skilled in the Law of Moses and that he was a man learned in matters of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes for Israel. You don’t get that kind of reputation by catching a good devo or article here and there. You don’t receive that kind of respect by listening to a good sermon now and then. Ezra was known for his knowledge and wisdom in the word of God because of his devotion to studying it.
In vss. 14 & 25 the king mentions and observes that the Law of the Lord was in his hand. Obviously I doubt that he was literally carrying around the library of scrolls around with him but we can be sure that he had some aspect of the law close to him at all times.
Not only did he possess a great knowledge and understanding of the Law but you could see the reflection in his everyday life. Ezra lived what he studied and read. Both of those things led to his ability to teach it. After all, as the saying goes, the best way to learn something is to teach it. He was able to teach it effectively because he understood it and what it took to live it.
What about us? Have we set our hearts to study God’s word or are we fully dependent upon others for our learning? Have we set our hearts to live it and take the things we learn and use it throughout the week to reflect Christ in our lives more and more or is worship simply an exercise? And have we set our hearts to teach others what we have found to be invaluable through Jesus Christ?
Let’s be encouraged by Ezra and set our hearts this week to study God’s word, to strive to live it, and share with others the good news of Jesus Christ.