Last week since I didn’t even come close to finishing the message on Ezra’s preparation of his heart, I’m going to conclude the study today. I have elaborated more upon the subject with a little alliteration – something that I tend not to do much in Portuguese. First go read the original post for some background, then come back for a small addendum.
Looking at the role of a scribe in Ezra’s day made me realize the impact and importance that Ezra 7:10 should actually have on our very own lives. As explained by Albert Barnes, initially the God’s prophets were men of action. They did more than they spoke. Think about the leadership of Moses, the courage of Elijah, or the miracles of Elisha. However, over time they began to speak more than act. Their role changed. Jeremiah and Ezekiel saw the necessity of having someone to pen their words so they they might be preserved.
I understand that the scribe of Ezra’s day served much more like an editor than an author. He gathered sayings. He compiled speeches but rarely spoke. Barnes states, “Scribism rose when prophecy declined.” These men, moved by the Spirit of God reasoned that those utterances of the prophets needed to be preserved in writing for further generations. So, grasping this important truth, a great man named Ezra “prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord…” I read today somewhere that a common historical Jewish proverb tells us that if Moses hadn’t recorded the 10 commandments, Ezra would have. That’s high praise for a humble man called a ready scribe.
So, with all that I have left to say today, I’ll attempt to focus a little more on three things…
- The Preparation – “Ezra had prepared his heart…”
- The Purpose – a three-fold one: “…to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel…”
- The Product – there are two:
- God’s hand was upon him as evidenced first by verse 9. If we take notice of the verb tenses used in both verses 9 and 10, we can see that the king allowed him to go up to Jerusalem, “…according to the good hand of his God upon him.” Then immediately in verse 10, the author tells us, “For…” or because “…Ezra had prepared his heart…” Understand then that the preparation of his heart that Ezra himself made, produced the power of the Lord on his life. Without that preparation, he would never have gone to Jerusalem because the hand of the Lord would not have been upon him. How important is it then that we prepare our hearts?
- God prepared the king’s heart because of Ezra’s own preparation. We see this in verse 23 of Ezra 7, “Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done…” This miraculous liberty that Artaxerxes gave to Ezra resulted from the hand of God upon the scribe that came from the preparation of his heart. Again, I ask…how important is it that we prepare our hearts like Ezra did. His focus wasn’t on results, but on God’s word itself and upon the disciples that he desired to make. Let’s forget about church growth strategies and focus on God’s Word, its application to our hearts first, and then on how we can help others apply it to their lives.
I’m not fishing for compliments, but I would love to discuss your thoughts with you in the comment section. Don’t be shy, please. Help me continue to prepare my heart. Let’s meditate together and be like the Psalmist who said, “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.” (39:3)