2013-07-25 - Study, Practice and Teach
Part 1 ~ Study
Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
The Priest Ezra had found great favor with King Artaxerxes of Persia. He had been given leave to return to Jerusalem with a large number of people, and with gold and silver offered by the king and his counselors to the God of Israel. This is an incredible turn of events when you consider that Israel was a defeated and subjugated nation. The Temple treasury had been looted and the gold and silver cups and plates had once been used in drunken pagan festival. Now gold and silver for the Lord were being given to return to Jerusalem in honor of the Lord.
We read that Ezra was skilled in the Law of Moses, so he was already very familiar with the law and wanted to know more.
Are we familiar with the law? We no longer live under the law but it was the school master that led us to understand God's love for us and Jesus' sacrifice and victory over sin and death. One table of the law for the relationship between God and men. The second table for the relationship between all of us. Believers and non-believers alike benefit. All those "Thou shalt not ..." declarations were distilled into two lines by Christ in Matthew 22:38-40.
Love God. Love others as yourself.
Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared and set his heart to seek the Law of the Lord [to inquire for it and of it, to require and yearn for it], and to do and teach in Israel its statutes and its ordinances (AMP)
Ezra opened his heart and mind very likely in prayer. Everyone requires food. Jesus told us God's teachings were required for life. The Lord rightly claimed to be the Bread of Life. John tells us that "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us". Living without the handbook for life will make life much harder. Have you ever been in a strange place without a map? And Ezra yearned for that map for life. He desired to dive deep into the law and understand its intent.
Read over the Ten Commandments again, which is the heart of the law, and grasp that it was given with purpose. It was not a club to beat us with, but boundary just like any parent would keep a small child away from a hot stove. The law also points to perfection required by God which we as flawed human beings could never keep. When Jesus came He dazzled the Priests in the Temple when He was just a young boy with His understanding of the Law. And, lived a life that met the requirements of that law so that He could be the perfect lamb offered for sin once for all time - for us. This is why we should understand the law as a milepost pointing the way to Christ and His gift.
Lord Jesus - thank You for sharing through a fallible work in progress Your matchless grace and mercy. Give us a yearning to know what You have for us. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.