Summary: What do we need to know about God’s Word in order to be skillful in living a Christian life as well as helping others in their journey of faith?
Mining for Gold in the Word of God
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever tried to draw a straight line? What happened? Did it come out crooked? What would help you to do a better job? A yardstick, a ruler? Yes, a ruler can help you to measure things accurately, and you can use it as a guide to draw a straight line.
In the Old Testament there was a man who made the Word of God his ruler. He measured his life by it, and when he applied that ruler and made it his way of life, it helped him to live like God wanted him to live. His name was Ezra.
Ezra was a Jewish exile in Babylon, and he was a man who was called a “Scribe” in those days. He wrote down the Scriptures as the prophets spoke. He was said to have done more to collect and arrange all of the Scriptures and record them than anyone else. Ezra was called a man of “great piety and zeal.” What that mean was that he focused on the things of God, and it was a priority to him to do so. He put God and the Scriptures first in his life every day. We could call his attention to the Scriptures, “Mining for Gold in the Word of God” because the truths he found were like gold or treasure that had great value in helping him to live as God wanted him to live.
It is important for us to learn how to “mine for gold” that is in God’s Word just like Ezra did. How do we do this? Ezra gave us some tips. Let’s look at five things.
1. He Prepared His Heart: Ezra opened his heart to receive the nuggets of truth from God. He prepared his heart to listen for and receive what God wanted to say to him each day. He was open to believe what God told him.
Sometimes we cannot receive because we are talking in church and not paying attention when the Word is being taught, and we miss what God is trying to tell us. Sometimes we are daydreaming, sometimes we are thinking about what we are going to do later in the day, or what we are going to have for lunch. Ezra made sure that his heart was prepared first to receive so that not even “a nugget” would be lost. Ezra made sure that he prepared his heart so that no sin would block him from receiving from God. When our hearts are prepared and cleansed ahead of time, a lot of work can be done quickly. Do you make sure that your heart is prepared to receive from God?
2. He Chose to Study: It is said that the Chaldeans were people who studied many writings-- astrology, magic, and other writings of the times. What Ezra chose to study was the law of the Lord. He could have studied anything he wanted to, but he selected the Word of God as his priority. Ezra was saddened to see that the Jewish people had not studied much. Romans 15:4 says that Scripture was written for our learning, and we must study not only to understand the literal meaning of the Scripture but to learn out of it what will do us good.
II Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” It requires study in order to do this and Timothy also studied to do this well just as Ezra did.