Lessons from Ezra
A. Prepared himself.
Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
Once his mind and heart were prepared by knowing God’s will and willing to do God’s will, he was able to discern what and who he needed to he in accomplishing God’s purpose. He then –
B. Prepared others.
Ezra 8:15-17 And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi. Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding. And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God.
We know when we experience the working of God in our lives, we must tell others of the plan, power, provision, and purpose that they might know and glorify Him. The Lord commanded that we be “witnesses unto him…unto the uttermost parts of the earth…”
We, therefore, –
II. Proclaim – the greatness of God!
Ezra 8:22 …we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.
Since we are not frozen in time but move forward following the proclamation of God’s working, an expectation of experiencing this power is manifested in those that have heard the testimony. They expect to see our words turned into action. This is the situation of Ezra at this time. How easy it is for apprehension to infiltrate our faith! Will God do what we believe and have proclaimed to others that He will? Ezra’s humanity identifies with ours and we need to learn from him what our next step should be.
We must –
III. Pray Ezra
Ezra 8:21-22 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.
Once we know that we are prepared, have proclaimed the will of God, have prayed, then we should –
Ezra 8:23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
Ezra 8:31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.
When God accomplishes His purpose through us, we must recognize that it is of Him, all glory belongs to Him, and so we, like they did, should –
Ezra 8:35 Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.
I remember years ago hearing Evangelist Maze Jackson sharing an account from one of his days long revival meetings. He said on Sunday morning, the final day of the meetings, a boy came up to him and said “Mr. Jackson, he came to church today”. Brother Maze asked who it was that came and the boy replied that it was his father. His father was not a saved man and had always refused to go to church. During the meetings, Brother Jackson was challenging the people to step out by faith, trust God, bring people and see them saved. The boy said that he had been asking his father to come and finally he had come and today “he was going to get saved”! Brother Maze told on himself that this boys words struck him hard, as you can’t make someone get saved and now this boy had done what he had been challenged to do – brought his father. He said that he sat there as the services began and prayed and prayed and prayed. Oh dear Lord, what will happen in this boy’s life if his father does not get saved today?
Brother Maze had proclaimed that nothing is impossible for God and now the truth was going to be known. What could he do. He did what Ezra did, He prayed, he desperately prayed! He prayed and he preached. As the invitation was given, the boy’s father came forward and trusted the Lord for salvation. They praised God for His working in all of their lives.
The results of their preparing, proclaiming, praying, proceeding, and praise –
Ezra 8:36 …. they furthered the people, and the house of God.
They ‘lifted up’ or encouraged the work. Those that had been hindering the work now turned to help them accomplish their purpose.
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
God is still in control!