Summary: This is a New Year’s Sermon using Ezra as a paradigm for the church
A New Year’s Example for the Church of Jesus Christ
Ezra 7:10 (KJV) 10For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
Ezra 7:10 (Amplified Bible) 10For Ezra had prepared and set his heart to seek the Law of the Lord [to inquire for it and of it, to require and yearn for it], and to do and teach in Israel its statutes and its ordinances.
As we approach another New Year in a few days, many of us will continue a tradition that we have followed for hundreds of years. I am referring to the practice of making New Year’s resolutions. I am not going to tell you that whether or not you make New Year’s resolutions will have a spiritual impact of some sort on your life. Yet, whether or not you decide to make New Year’s resolutions, there is a powerful example for us to follow in the Biblical Character of Ezra. Many of you may argue that Ezra was a man who lived in a different era of time than you and I. That is true. Ezra did live somewhat differently than you and I do today. Nevertheless, let me remind you of this scripture. 2nd Timothy 3:16, 17 (KJV) declares the following: “16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine , for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness : 17 that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2nd Timothy 3:16, 17 (Amplified Bible) reads, “16Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), 17So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Having said that let me bring you up to date on the times of Ezra and the context surrounding our text of Ezra 7:10.
The Book of Ezra is named for the book’s principle character. This scribe rejuvenated the Law of Moses as the basis for Jewish religious and social life during the period of restoration following the Babylonian exile. The Book of Ezra details the history of the Jews’ return from Babylon captivity. It continues the story that 2nd Chronicles left unfinished. The first half of the book (chaps. 1-6) concerns the expedition ordered by King Cyrus (538 B.C.) to rebuild the temple under Sheshbazzar of Judah. The book continues the theme of temple and priesthood that was begun in Chronicles (Ezra 3:1-6, 10-11; 6:16-22). The importance of the Levites and priests to the community is evidenced by the careful cataloging, detailing, and listing of those who returned from Babylonian captivity (2:36-54, 61-62). The Levites supervised the rebuilding of the temple and were reorganized in time to officiate at the first Passover celebration (3:8-9; 6:16-20)
Priests and Levites were a major concern of Ezra’s administration (chaps. 7-10). Ezra was careful to include them among those returning from exile (7:7, 13, 24; 8:15-20, 24-34). Their sinful intermarriage with Gentiles provoked Ezra’s reforms (9:1-2). They were placed under oath (10:5), and the guilty were noted (10:18-24).