TODAY’S READING: EZRA 7-10
Ezra leads a second group of Jews to return to the land; the sinful condition of the people; Ezra’s prayer and confession; the people repent.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Ezra chapter 7 begins approximately 60 years after the end of chapter 6. Ezra leads a second wave of people returning to Jerusalem. Ezra has a good testimony before King Artaxerxes and the king gives Ezra the letter authorizing the return. The description of Ezra in 7:6-10 is a description we should long for as well. Verse 6 says he was a “ready scribe in the law of Moses”. Though Ezra could not perform all his duties while in captivity, he still had made himself ready for the time when God would use him. Am I preparing myself with God and His Word for whatever He may want to accomplish with me in the future? I may not be able to do it now but am I READY? Then verse 10 shows us how he had made himself ready – “Ezra prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments”. First he knew he must seek the law of the Lord. Proverbs 2:4 talks about seeking God’s word as silver and searching for it as for “hid treasure”!
. Honestly, how many of us have prepared ourselves to seek God’s word that way? Secondly, Ezra was prepared to do it. Many of us have a good handle on the knowledge of God’s Word. However, the real key is, are we prepared to DO it? We know we should seek the things above. Do we do it? We know we should be submissive one to another. Do we do it? We know we shouldn’t talk about each other. Do we do it? We know we shouldn’t hold grudges or be bitter. Do we do it? There are lots of things we know, but how much do we put in practice. Third, Ezra wanted others to understand God’s word. One doesn’t have to be a pastor to teach the Word of God to others. It’s called discipleship. Is this still a priority in my life? We are a group of people that like new things, and grow bored with things of the past! We must always remember that discipleship is the one thing the Lord left us here to fulfill. Is teaching the word of God to others (especially one on one in disciple!
ship) something that excites you and you’re prepared to do? !
d be and must be for us to fulfill God’s plan for our life. Notice also that God’s hand is upon Ezra. This is not a coincidence. We all want God’s hand to be upon our life; the problem is we also want to do what we want to do. God’s hand was upon Ezra because he was a man surrendered to the purposes of God. We can have God’s hand upon us as well, but it only comes as we are surrendered to the purposes of God.
Once Ezra arrives in Jerusalem he soon understands the true condition of the people. Though they had returned to where they should be (the Promised Land), they had once again given in to their flesh and were involved in the abominations of the people around them. We must remember that the battle with the flesh is a daily battle. You can’t get to the place where you think you have conquered your flesh and can take it easy. Sure you may not commit the kinds of sin these people committed but your flesh will constantly seek to find a way to conquer you. Remember I Corinthians 10:12! Ezra’s response to this is brokenness. Chapter 9 and verse 5 says, “And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness...” In fact, as you read Ezra’s prayer in chapter 9, he identifies himself with his people. Rarely do we take this path. Many times we’re not broken about the sin in our brothers and sisters lives. We may talk about it, we may think it’s terrible, we may think we kn!
ew something like that would happen, but rarely in Laodicea are we truly broken and heavy about it. And the few times we may be truly mourning our brother or sisters sin, how often do we identify with them. Do we intervene in prayer on their behalf before God? Is it something that consumes us as it did Ezra?
Ezra does confront the sin, and the people confess their sin and turn from it. This was difficult. It meant turning from things to which they had grown very accustomed. It meant turning from things and people they loved. True repentance seems costly until you view it through the eyes of eternity.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through EZRA (a priest) making intercession for his people. – Ezra 9:1-5; 10:1 (Hebrews 7:25 says Jesus is our priest who “...ever liveth to make intercession for them.”)