The time is almost 60 years after the events narrated in chapter 6. Now the Book of Ezra places focus on different concerns: not only on restored worship (Ezra 1-6), but also on reformed life according to the law/word of God (Ezra 7-10). There is also the re-occurring theme of the “Hand of God” upon Ezra.
In earlier chapters, the people’s hands hung down in the face of their enemy. Now we see the hand of God acting for strength on their behalf through Ezra. Why is God’s good hand upon Ezra?
Because Ezra has set His heart to study the Law of the Lord and do it and teach it. This is a warning to us against sloth and laziness and a sloppy view of grace. Grace does not cause a man to put down his tools; it strengthens him to use them.
Ezra’s ministry was:
- Focused (set his heart)
- Committed to action (do) and
- Committed to imparting it (teach)
This is a Christian life that is not content with a little fiddling and fooling around at the edges. The good hand of God is upon him both because and in order to stir His heart to devoted study, service and discipleship.
How do you account for the lack of zeal in serving? Answer: there is a lack of zeal in your devotion.
As we have said it is the word of God that stirs.
If you’ve gone lumpy through lack of stirring it’s because you’ve not set your heart to do and to teach. You’re in your own world, you’re not content, but you have no intention of seeking, studying or serving. In other words, God’s good hand – and all the blessings and joy that it brings – is on those with good intentions.
In other words, their intentions are in harmony with God’s.
Here we have a personal God. A God with hands and feet who moves us and sustains us, who even causes kings to step aside for us in our firm and determined zeal to serve Him with whatever gifts he has given us.
Here is a God who will also guide and guard you as you depend on him and not on the world for your survival.
Lessons For little Saints…
- Why did Ezra go to Jerusalem?
- What does it mean to say that Ezra was under “God’s hand”?
- Who is paying for all of this?
- Why did Ezra decide not to ask the king for help?
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