Read: Ezra 7:1-10 and 8: 15-36
Focus: Ezra 7:10
“Ezra devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.”
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about our constitutional rights as an American people. Related topics in the news include: the ability to purchase firearms, freedom of speech vs. stepping on the American flag, the war on drugs, paparazzi, voting during the presidential election, borrowing money from the government and being captive to tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, being innocent until proven guilty, the need for food and clean water, telling people to get out of the country because they practice a certain religion, and the list could go on. Some argue that their rights are being challenged by the actions and decisions made by citizens of this country and/or the government. Whether in fact these actions and decisions are truly opposing the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which was put in place many years ago as a foundation to our freedom, independence, and owed rights as human beings, most people do not actually know what the Constitution says… Don’t tune out or stop reading… this is not a political debate!
Often we hear others talking about hot button issues or promoting new trends and we tend to automatically assume they know what they are talking about just because of their status or position. However (pause for dramatic effect), buying into someone’s sales pitch or joining the flow of the crowd does not equal accurate knowledge of the real source! Unfortunately, this is also the view that many people take when it comes to “What God says” vs. what is actually in the Bible. If we as a believing body are not careful, knowledge of the actual source may transform into complying with the “wisdom” of the “believing” crowd.
In Ezra 7:6, Ezra is described as “a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given.” Some translations of scripture might state, “Ezra was a ready scribe in the Law of Moses.” Either way, it is important not to just view Ezra as a person that spent time in books and duplicating or penning documents. One commentary writes, “He was a rabbi, or doctor, learned in the Mosaic Law, and in all that related to the civil and ecclesiastical polity and customs of the Hebrew people. Scribes of this description possessed great authority and influence.” The fact that Ezra knew God’s Word and was influential made him a valuable tool that the Lord could use to transform the lives of many around him. Later in verse 10, scripture tells readers “Ezra devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.”
Imagine if our nation was well versed in the Constitution… would many of these things be an issue or even argued? Of course not, because people would know their actual rights and could identify when those rights are being threatened. Now imagine if people were well versed in God’s Word… would there be any doubt regarding our mission as followers of Christ? We as believers would no longer be led into deceiving claims of “what scripture supposedly says” because we would actually know how Christ encouraged us to live out our lives. That same commentator from above writes about Ezra, “His reigning desire had been to study the divine law–its principles, institutions, privileges, and requirements; and now from love and zeal, he devoted himself, as the business of his life, to the work of instructing, reforming, and edifying others.”
We could be leading people to Christ and building others up if we only understood Christ’s commands as He gave them, not as the person down the street paraphrased them. We may have the right to bear arms, the right to a fair trial, the right to basic necessities, the right to freedom of speech, but it is also our right and duty to know how God intended His creation to live and love as He Wills. With that said, may I leave you with a challenge? If you are not currently in the habit of getting in God’s Word daily, it is crucial to our growth and faith as a follower of Christ. Let’s get to know Him more by knowing what He wants for us. If you were preparing to get married, would you want to know everything about the other person or would you only want to know how others view them? Engage in the Word that brings life!
Lord, we thank you for examples like Ezra to see how you could use us if we only submit ourselves to knowing more of you. Draw us into a more intimate relationship with you. Teach us your Holy Word and allow it to imbed on our hearts and minds. Prepare us to be your knowledgeable servants. In Your Faithful Name we pray, Amen.