Summary: Because Ezra not only knew the Scriptures but applied them to his life, he was granted great authority by this heathen King. His title would have been the equivalent of Secretary of State for Jewish Affairs.
Putting First Things First
In the book of Ezra we find the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel through Jeremiah to bring the Jews back to their land after 70 years of captivity in Babylon.
The first 6 chapters deal with the return of the first colony under the leadership of Zerubbabel...where they rebuilt the altar, established worship, and rebuilt and dedicated the temple. The second part of the book centers on the return of the second colony under Ezra.
The message that shines throughout the book of Ezra is clear: by the faithful observance of every detail of the Law, and by keeping the covenant people free from pagan contamination and idolatry, the blessings of God may be secured.
Israel at this time was a nation fighting extinction which would come about by their continued intermarriage into another religion and
[10 Lost Tribes]
Ezra and Nehemiah are the principle figures during the time of the return from exile. Nehemiah was the builder, an efficient organizer and leader in rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem which lay in ruins.
Ezra was the scribe, the most learned interpreter of the Law. He along with Nehemiah, initiated a revival of the study of the Scriptures. This seems to be Ezra's primary message and drive. He was the man who shaped the returned exiles into people "of the book."
It is interesting to note that he is known as the author of several Psalms most notably Ps. 119 [word have I hid...lamp unto feet...]
It is my sincere belief that we are living in the last days, and that the coming of the Lord in all His glory is near at hand. My main goal and purpose as your pastor will be to help get you ready to meet the Lord...whether that meeting comes through physical death or you are alive at the time of the rapture of the church.
I believe that this is the same basic goal that Ezra had for the people of Israel. I want to share with you today Exra's purpose of heart and mine as well.
I. It was set on knowing the Word of God. "Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord"
Ezra was born and bred among the Chaldeans who were famed for their literature and especially for their study of the stars. This was where the status and popularity was to be found.
But the law of God meant more to him than all the writings of the astrologers and magicians that were so prominent. He set his heart to study God's word. vs. 6 "He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses which the Lord, the God of Israel had given.
vs.11 He was a priest and teacher...a man learned in matters concerning the commandments and decrees of the Lord for Israel
Ezra was known not just to his own people...his knowledge of God's word was recognized even by the King of Persia, Artaxerxes.
vs. 25,26 [READ] And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God which you possess...
Because Ezra not only knew the Scriptures but applied them to his life, he was granted great authority by this heathen King. His title would have been the equivalent of Secretary of State for Jewish Affairs.
GOD TRULY BLESSES THOSE WHO ARE FAITHFUL TO HIS WORD!!
But it is important to note that he never became content with his knowledge. He was a man who continually gave himself to diligent study so that he could know it better.
He had a continual hunger for the Word. He studied the word of God and he did it in the midst of all the enticements and depravity of a heathen court...where he was still held in high esteem.
He wasn't isolated from the world...he didn't hide his religion inside the church
How do we measure up to this?? How many of our neighbors, or co workers know of our desire to serve God and can see Christ in us??
It is usually a difficult thing to be a continual witness around others. It certainly is not the most popular thing.
But when trials come like serious illness, injury or death...who do people turn to? This happened to me several times. The ones that would give me the hardest time would be calling me when the faced a critical situation, all because they felt I knew God well enough to intercede in their behalf. I'm sure the same thing has happened to many of you.
II. IT WAS SET ON OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD OF GOD..."and observance of the Law of the Lord.
It's one thing to know the Scriptures, but quite another to actually do what it says.
1. The first thing we see from the book of Ezra is that we need to render a ready obedience.