Ezra 7:1-6a – “After these things, during the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest-- this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given.”
- WHO is Ezra? Well, Ezra’s lineage was of great importance to the Jews because it gave him spiritual “clout” as a direct descendant to the first chief priest of Israel (Aaron was Moses’ brother). Our lineage, our childhood, our past shapes us – for better or worse. However, his ancestors couldn’t learn the Law of Moses for him. That choice he made for himself…as we must.
Ezra 7:6b-7 – “The king had granted [Ezra] everything he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him. Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.”
- These verses also tell us HOW Ezra is perceived by others. He enjoyed the favor of his king, his God and his peers. Even though we can’t/shouldn’t derive our value or worth from other people’s opinions of us, the way we’re perceived by others does in fact shape a portion of who we are. The most important opinion, of course, is God’s view of us – and to Him, we’re worth dying for.
Ezra 7:8-10 – “Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.”
- WHAT we do also helps reveal who we are. Ezra didn’t just talk about the Law of Moses. He observed the Laws that he studied, and he embarked on a perilous 900-mile journey, arriving just 4 months after he began because of God’s gracious protection. He was a man of faith and action.
Lord, it’s so tempting to sit and learn. It’s so difficult to learn and GO. I want to become a person of faith and action. When my circumstance limits my activity, show me creative ways to serve. When my circumstance calls for new steps into uncomfortable territory, give me the courage and commitment to make the journey. I want to know myself and be known by others as a person who studies and acts on the Word of God. Let it be so in me, Lord.