Ezra 7:10 – 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.
Ezra was both a priest and a scribe. His genealogy traces all the way back to Aaron the first earthly high priest. Ezra was obviously a well respected Jewish leader both to the captives and before the Babylonian king because we are told that he asked for the king’s permission to go to Jerusalem and he was sent. As I did a simple research on him, I discovered that in Jewish tradition he became known as a second Moses and was heavily regarded as one who was responsible for reconnecting Israel with the Book of the Law.
When I read this verse, it leaped off the pages for me. I have read the Bible through on several occasions. There have been times when I have read it through 3 times in one year. So when I say I have read this scripture before, I have! But this time it truly caught my attention and I wanted to blog about it.
The first thing mentioned in this verse is that Ezra set his heart to study the Law of the Lord! He made it a point, he resolved in his heart, he was determined to the study the Law. We call it the Word of God because we have the totality of it in the Bible. The point being, he was determined to study God’s Word!
Studying the word of God is a vital part of the Christian faith. I would venture to say that it is the concrete that keeps us from floating all over the place. 2 Timothy 2: 15 encourages us to study the Word to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman not ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth! In order to rightly divide the Word, you have to study it. Not just read it, but study it. Ezra understood this as a priest and a scribe and made it a way of life!
Studying the word could involve:
- Reading it over and over again
- Reading other versions
- Meditating on it
- Looking at the entire text around it, maybe the chapter
- Looking at the setting
- Understanding who spoke it and why
- Understanding the culture of the day
- Understanding the Hebrew word or the Greek word
- In other words, it is not reading it once and saying, I studied it!
Second, Ezra said he had resolved in his heart to do, or practice the Word of God. What is the point in studying the Word if there is no commitment to obeying the Word? When Ezra discovered in the Law that he was supposed to do something like keep the feast, he kept the feast. He had just settled it in his heart that he wasn’t going to try to figure out how to get around what the Word said, but that he was going to obey the Word!
I am convinced that the reason some Christians live such shabby lives today is because they have no personal convictions of the Word of God because they spend no real time in personal studying of His Word! Don’t get me wrong, we all need to be taught, but then we need to go back and revisit what we are taught and make sure it lines up with the Word of God! And when we understand it and have received a revelation of its truth, then we need to practice it, not debate it or try to justify why it isn’t applicable to our lives or today! The Word of God plainly states that we are not to commit adultery or fornication, yet, people are still trying to justify why they do it!! Seriously! Spend some time studying the word so that you can understand He didn’t say it to keep you from fun (although I personally don’t see the fun in either of these), but to keep you from the devastation sin brings with it! All sin brings devastation!!
Lastly, Ezra said that he resolved in his heart to teach the Word. It wasn’t enough for him to study it and do it, he had to teach it. It’s a simple principle of life, you learn, you practice, you teach! That’s what Ezra did! When he saw the riches in the Word and how living those truths blessed his life, he wanted everyone to experience the Word. So he committed to teaching it. When he learned that there were things that pleased God and things that didn’t, he wanted to teach those statues so that the children of Israel would know God the way he was learning to know God!
If studying the Word of God only resulted in us knowing the dos and don’ts of the Word, it wouldn’t be much different then studying a textbook. And that’s the truth! Ezra studied the word and began to understand the God of the Word. That’s why he was so committed to studying the Word. And as he learned of God, he wanted to obey Him! And as he began to understand his God, he wanted others to know Him! And so it is for us! We don’t study the word to “know” the letter of the Word, but to know the Author of the Word. And as we know Him, we love Him and are more willing to obey Him. And as we know Him, we want to teach others to obey Him! Or we should!
Apply this simple truth to your life today! Purpose to study the Word, do the Word and to teach the Word, because in doing so, you search the Scriptures and learn of Jesus! Wonderful Jesus!