Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Practice What You Preach

Ezra 7:6                This Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him.

Finally we meet the man from whom the whole book has taken its name. This chapter gives us an introduction to the scholar-priest Ezra. Included we find his purpose for returning to Jerusalem and learn about those who accompanied him there.

We know the “hand of God” was on Ezra from the way he conducted his life. In verse 10 we read that “Ezra devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” The hand of God upon him was evident from his study, life and work. What was dear to his heart was the Word of God. His devotion was to the Father who spoke through the Law of Moses. He could not teach nor model what he did not study and practice.

Ezra is a model reformer in that what he taught the people he had first lived. Before he lived it, he made sure that it was according to the Word of God, the Law of Moses. The order is significant. Study was followed by practice or conduct which led to teaching others. God can use us in ministry AFTER we have studied Scripture. We must know what God expects of us and how he works in our life. Then, having read and studied his Word, we must practice what God calls us to do in our lives. Without study we can never know the correct way in which we are to conduct our lives. Having met these two prerequisites we are now able to begin to teach others.  

God responded to Ezra only after he had committed himself to Yahweh, the God of Israel. When life seems out-of-sync it may be due to our having replaced our first love with someone or something else. Our effectiveness in living for Christ is directly related to the amount of time spent studying Scripture and practicing it with others. May God open our eyes and ears to the reality of His process for making us effective Christians.

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