"...[T]his Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Torah of Moses that Yahweh, the God of Israel, had given, and the king [Artaxerxes] granted him all that he asked, for the hand of Yahweh his God was on him. ...For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Torah of Yahweh, to do it, and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel." - Ezra 7:6-10
Some time after the second temple was completed and dedicated, God prospered Ezra to lead a group of Jews to return from Babylonia to Jerusalem (457 bc). Ezra was a man of the Torah. It was his whole life. God's hand was on Ezra because he was so dedicated. He was the priestly leader the Jewish people needed at that point in their history, and he had an extraordinary reputation with Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, who supported him.
Here's some application for us. First, like Ezra, we are to set our hearts to study God's word, to do it, and to teach it today. Second, if we dedicate ourselves to God's word, we are to expect God's favour upon us.
Father, thank you for Ezra's dedication to your word and how you used him to reestablish worship in Jerusalem and to teach the Jewish people the contents of the Torah, which many had forgotten. Today, many don't know what the Bible teaches. Many have lost connection with your word. So raise up men and women like Ezra who will set their hearts to study your word. May I be one of them. May we have a group of men and women, right here in Dunedin, who are zealous for your word and who want to study it, do it, and teach it. I'm confident you will bless those who commit themselves in this way. Thank you for the truth of your word and your blessing on those who put you first. In Jesus' name, Amen.
- Jeff Coleman