Ezra the Scribe
Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel.
From the completion of the rebuilding of the temple in 515 BC, we jump nearly seventy-five years to the second stage in the reconstruction of Israel’s national life following the exile. This was led by Ezra, who was a priest, a scribe, and a teacher. He was sent to Jerusalem by none other than the Persian King Artaxerxes I. His instructions were to regulate Israel’s religious, social, and moral behaviour in accordance with the law of Moses.
What sort of a man was Ezra? We are not left to guess. A succinct description of him is given us: “Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel” (v. 10). This threefold characterization is very significant. Firstly, he was a diligent student of God’s law. Not content with a superficial acquaintance, he sought out its meaning and its application. Secondly, he was resolved to be not a forgetful hearer but an obedient doer of God’s Word. Thirdly, he went beyond a personal study and observance to a ministry of teaching others. Moreover, on all three tasks (to study, to do, and to teach) he had set his heart.
This humble submission to the Word of God was Ezra’s primary characteristic. During a particular public assembly the Word of God was given its due honor. Standing on a high wooden platform built for the occasion, Ezra read the law out loud from daybreak until noon. When he opened the book, the people spontaneously rose to their feet. Then “they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground” (Nehemiah 8:6). They did not worship the book. Nor, of course, should we. But we worship the Lord and honor the Bible because of him.
- Do you take time to study God’s law (the Bible)?
- If you study the Word of God, do you enjoy sharing with others what you have learned?
Take time to study God’s word. It might surprise you how it affects you and begins to become important. If you learn something, ask God to give you opportunities to share with others.