Summary: When we become Christians, we are engaged in the battle between good and evil. In the midst of the battle it is not too late for people to learn the Good News and repent. Everyone who remains on the straight and narrow path is blessed.
The story in Ezra 7:1-26 took place shortly after the Jews returned from exile in Babylon. The king told Ezra to go to Jerusalem to see if the people were obeying God’s Law, and if they weren’t, Ezra was to teach them and enforce the Law. The king provided Ezra with all the resources he needed to do his job, just like God provides everything we need when we do his work. The king made certain that God received appropriate worship that would guarantee blessings, and when we worship God we will receive guaranteed blessings.
Ezra knew that the people suffered from spiritual apathy, so he went to Jerusalem to teach them about the Law and obeying God. He knew that he would need help and resources to do this work, so he asked for help from the king. The king did not grant Ezra’s request simply because something good came over him. The king had been watching Ezra and knew that he was a man with God-given wisdom.
Ezra’s behaviour mattered just like our behaviour matters, and I’ll explain that statement in a moment. Ezra did what God commanded him to do. The Lord’s hand was upon his life. When the hand of God is upon us like it was upon Ezra, even kings will support our causes. When God’s hand is on our lives, we have a growing desire to do what he wants us to do.
Ezra set his priorities so that they would help him fulfill God’s plan for his life. His priority was to study and teach the word of God, and that is to be our priority as well. Spiritual maturity requires spiritual preparation. If we are to grow in our faith, we must study God’s word. We are called to read and obey God’s law. We must read, study and obey the truth. The truth of the Gospel becomes our strength only when we receive it in our hearts and act on it. We must do God’s work and study his word with all of our love, strength and effort. We must apply his word with all our heart, and we must put the same effort into spreading the Good News to everyone we meet. When we do, we will have an impact on future generations. That is why we are to pass on knowledge that will build them up
God’s Law teaches us how to live. In turn, we are to teach others about God’s Law. It requires time and discipline. We must not be in a hurry to study the Scriptures. We must read, meditate, think about and pour over the focus of our studies again and again. We must also look for other Scriptures to shed light on our focus. Finally, we must state our conclusions in our own words and look for specific applications from our study that will help us grow in faith.
When we obey God’s Law, we receive limitless grace, just like Ezra received a limitless supply of salt from the king. We can never have too much of God’s grace. It is God’s heavenly salt. It will preserve our hearts and kill sins just like salt preserved meat years ago and kills plants today. We will not know the will of God if we love the world and everything in it because the world is at odds with God. . (
God’s grace is limitless but it is not endless. There is a time coming when God’s grace will end and his judgement will begin, and that time will happen when Jesus returns to set up his kingdom on earth. God and Jesus will rule and everyone who believes in them in faith will celebrate, even Christian martyrs. That is why we can have hope in a world without hope. We do not sit and wait in hiding for Christ’s return. We are to rescue as many people as we can by telling them about Jesus.
Christ’s victory will be celebrated in song. Those who endure in spite of hardship, obey God’s Law and remain strong in faith will be blessed in death by rest from their labours. Others will face destruction. God reveals his glory in loving acts of mercy and in holy acts of vengeance. His anger is not impulsive. It is the settled, steady, merciless, graceless and compassionless response of a righteous God against sin.
When we become Christians, we are engaged in the battle between good and evil. In the midst of the battle it is not too late for people to learn the Good News and repent. Everyone who remains on the straight and narrow path is blessed. The path might be hard, but God will be with us. We are to fear God and give Him the glory He is due.