Ezra: Rebuilding through the Word
We pick up the story of Ezra in Ch. 7 after the 58 year gap (between Ch.6-7) that gives us the story of Esther. Artexerxes is now the 4th king on the throne. We are also now introduced to the lineage of Ezra, which shows he is a direct descendent of Aaron, the High Priest. Not only is Ezra a priest, but also a scribe (v6). This shows that Ezra was skilled at the Law. A scribe would note all that is happening, and clarity/precision was incredibly important. Scribes didn't add or subtract a single syllable. It is why we can know that our Bible is accurate and consistent today! Tradition even says that Ezra knew the Law so well that he could accurately write, from memory, Genesis through Deuteronomy.
Ezra rebuilt the people through the Word because He was a man in the Word himself:
As we just established, Ezra knew the Word very well. As he brought back the 2nd wave from Babylon, the group traveled 900 miles in 4 months (v7-9). They were able to accomplish this because, "the good hand of his God was on him".
Verse 10 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." By "setting his heart" on this study, we see that he made it a high priority in his life.
Studying the Word means, "to tread a place with the feet". Basically, it is the idea that one walks somewhere so much that a path is worn.
Do it means speaks to obeying what is taught. Jesus gives us a great example in His sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:24.
To teach comes from the idea of moving cattle. Teaching is not merely the transferring of information from teacher to student, but also the instilling of discipline. The Great Commission gives the idea that by teaching, the student's will becomes conformed to the teaching itself.
In verses 11-24, we see all that the king gives to Ezra and the Israelites upon their return. But in verse 25, we see that the king understands the importance of Ezra's role when he says, "And those who do not know them (the Law), you shall teach." He knew that those returning needed the Word more.
Ezra rebuilt the people through the Word by pointing up.
Verses 27-28 show that Ezra realizes where their blessing and favor came from, and he blessed the name of the Lord.
Ezra rebuilt the people through the Word that transforms.
He felt the Lord's favor, which gave him courage, and he gathered leading men. (He DID something.)
What does the Word say about the very Words of God?
Moses - Deut 32:45-47
Joshua - Joshua 1:7-8
David - Psalm 1; Psalm 119
Paul to Timothy - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
James - James 1:22
Peter - 1 Peter 1:23-25
Jesus - Matthew 4:4
To Discuss Today:
1. What would a casual observer learn from watching your life? What are your priorities?
2. What habits or disciplines regarding the Bible can you start today to learn it, live it, and teach it?
3. Is there anything in your life that needs rebuilding? What?
4. What are your current patterns of interaction with God's Word?