A few years ago my wife and I went to New York City on a vacation with a couple of friends of ours. The ladies bucket list consisted of an afternoon in Chinatown to shop. After a somewhat frightening shopping excursion in a Dodge Tradesman Santana van, my wife and her friend had some new loot. Their shopping bag – a 13 gallon trash bag. At this point I notice that every woman in Chinatown is carrying a 13 gallon trash bag full of loot. They were clearly marked. It was unmistakable.
A note on context:
“Ezra’s theological focus is how God accomplishes His will through different human agents.” David S. Dockery, ed., Holman Bible Handbook (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1992), 288.
God used everyday men and women to accomplish his will.
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.
I. Be Intentional (“set his heart”)
- Meaning, he was ‘inwardly determined’. To be firm in your mind, will, heart.
- To dedicate all of yourself and your life.
- Following Christ isn’t something that we do by happenstance. It is something that we determine to do.
- Left to our own devices:
- we build idols at the foot of Mt. Sinai. (Golden Calf – Ex. 32.)
- 1 Cor. 9:24,27
II. Immerse Yourself In God’s Word (“study the Law of the Lord”)
- God’s Word is the center pivot of our lives. As disciples, all that we are should flow from God’s Word.
- Psalm 119:1-24.
III. Have Integrity (“and to do it”)
- “Study is of little value if one does not also obey God’s will” – Mervin Breneman, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, electronic ed., vol. 10, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 130.
- “The Old Testament does not look upon the law as a heavy weight or something negative but as a guide to a healthy society. It is truthfully the royal law of liberty, a divinely inspired ethical guide.” – Ibid.
IV. Invest In Others (“and to teach his statutes and rules”)
- More than just the imparting of facts, this involves training in righteousness and motivating believers to love and obey God. It includes learning what a biblical view signifies for practical life today. Mervin Breneman, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, electronic ed., vol. 10, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 130.
- Study, observe (obey), then teach is the correct order. God’s revelation has for its purpose the ordering of his people’s lives. There are no easy solutions or quick recipes to solve life’s problems. God needs men and women who will devote their lives to this ministry. These three aspects of ministry are interdependent. Mervin Breneman, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, electronic ed., vol. 10, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 130.