Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2 son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3 son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth,4 son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5 son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— 6 this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. 7 And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. 8 And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. 10 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.
While studying in the Holy Land, a seminary professor met a man who claimed to have memorized the Old Testament, and all in Hebrew! Needless to say, the astonished professor asked for a demonstration. A few days later they sat together in the man’s home. “Where shall we begin?” asked the man. “Psalm 1,” replied the professor, who was an avid student and teacher of the psalms. Beginning with Psalm 1:1, the man began to recite from memory, while my professor followed along in his Hebrew Bible. For two hours the man continued word for word without a mistake as the professor sat in stunned silence. However, when the demonstration was over the professor made the most astonishing discovery of the entire episode. The man was an atheist! The professor was dumbfounded that this man knew the Scriptures better than most Christians ever would, and yet he didn’t even believe in God.
God doesn’t measure how much Scripture we know, he counts how much Scripture we obey. The Lord Jesus Christ would rather we read one verse an obey it than read the entire bible and ignore it. Ezra was a man who loved the law of God. He was a scribe who meticulously recopied the law onto new scrolls for its long-term preservation (Thank God he and other Jewish scribes did!). However, he did much more than read it and write it. It says here that he set his heart to study the law of God, to do it, and then to teach it in Israel. This is the path for incarnating the Bible, applying it to life.
First we must study it. How much of God’s Word do we know and fully understand? We must study to show ourselves approved as workmen in God’s Word who do not need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15). Secondly, we must obey what we read. Whatever the Spirit of God tells us to do as a result of what we have learned, we must do. Lastly, we must teach others. This is making disciples, it’s inviting others into a relationship with Christ and us for the purpose of helping them grow alongside of us as we grow. What we are learning we need to tell someone else about. This makes it tangible, real, concrete in our life.
Today, what does your commitment to God’s Word look like? Have you set your heart, intentional on studying, doing, and teaching the Word of God? To set your heart means to affix it to something. In other words, we must affix ourselves to God’s Word daily and systematically. Ezra set his heart to study, do, and teach the law of God….will I?
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Lord, forgive me for being nonchalant with Your word. Lord I choose today to set my heart to study, do, and teach Your Word. Help me incarnate what You show me Lord. In Jesus name, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Psalm 135:13 (NLT)
Your name, O Lord, endures forever;
your fame, O Lord, is known to every generation.