If there’s anything the Spirit wants us to know about Ezra, it’s that he was a man of the Word, as in “God’s word”.
Sure, when he’s introduced in Ezra 7 the first thing mentioned is that he was the son of Seriah, a descendent of Aaron (yes, the Aaron of Moses and Aaron fame–as in the first chief priest of Israel). But the repeated thing mentioned is that he was a man of the Word.
He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given . . . 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. . . a man learned in matters of the commandments of the LORD and His statutes for Israel . . .
(Ezra 7:6b, 10, 11b ESV)
Skilled in the law. A student of the Law. Pretty sharp when it came to the Law. Know anything about Ezra, and that, it seems, is what we’re to know.
And, because I know what’s coming in Nehemiah (spoiler alert, he reads and teaches the Law), I’m reminded how important God’s word is when it comes to God’s work. That being reminded of what God says has a way of reviving those who God has saved.
So, Ezra’s kind of a big deal in God’s “Rebuild the Temple, Rebuild the City” program after Babylon exile. The kind of guy we’d be tempted to put on a pedestal (actually, they do in Nehemiah, see 8:4). The kind of guy, we might think to ourselves, we could never be like.
But something catches my eye that actually is kind of an equalizer between me and Ezra. Not that I could be an Ezra or would be called to do what he was called to do. But not that I couldn’t be an Ezra either, and be called to be who I’m called to be.
Background: the reigning king over Babylon, Artaxerxes (we’re just gonna call him Art), is moved by the God of heaven to send Ezra, along with any who wanted to go with him, back to Jerusalem to assist in the rebuilding program. And so, Art writes a letter commissioning Ezra’s expedition and requiring his governors over Israel to protect and support this second group of returning exiles.
And in that letter, this is what popped:
“And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach.”
(Ezra 7:25 ESV)
The wisdom of God that is in your hand. That’s what I’m chewing on this morning. That’s my connect with Ezra. That’s what makes us more alike than different. We both know what it is to have the wisdom of God in our hands.
He had the Law. I have the Bible. He had the word of God revealed through Moses. I have that and more, the fulfillment of that ancient written word in the person of Jesus, the Son of God, the living Word. He could set his heart to study what was in his hand, I can set my heart to study what’s in mine. He became learned and skilled in the matters concerning God’s plan for His people, I can become learned and skilled in the mystery of the gospel revealed since then. We both have access to the wisdom of God in our hands.
The wisdom of God. Okay, noodle on that for a bit. The Bible in our hands, it’s the wisdom of God. The revelation given by the Creator so He could be known by His creation. The mind of the Sovereign made available to those who are sojourning. The plans and promises of Him who is able to fulfill all plans and promises for those who desperately need to know there’s a plan and a promise.
The wisdom of your God that is in your hand. That’s what my Bible is. That’s what your Bible is. If we really believed that what could keep us from opening it, reading it, studying it, listening to it, and chewing on it?
Father, help the wisdom of God that is in my hands become the wisdom of God that fills my head and occupies my heart.
By Your grace. For Your glory.