Read Ezra 7
An Example for Godly People
We are not introduced to the man Ezra until the seventh chapter of the inspired book that bears his name, but what an introduction he is given! We are told of his priestly lineage dating all the way back to “Aaron the chief priest” (Ezra 7:1-5). Inspiration tells us that this man “was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses” (Ezra 7:6). He was respected by the Persian king Artaxerxes who “granted him all his request” (Ezra 7:6), and his own people who followed him for four months on “his journey from Babylon…to Jerusalem” (Ezra 7:7-9).
It should come as no surprise that Ezra was successful. Ezra 7:10 tells the secret of his success and gives an example that all godly people would do well to follow.
First and foremost, Ezra “prepared his heart.” Without proper preparation, success should not be expected. We should prepare the heart whenever we set out to do something for God, ensuring that we are doing it for God and not for self. It is the man with the pure heart who will see God (Matthew 5:8), who will love the brethren (1 Peter 1:22), who will call on the name of the Lord (2 Timothy 2:22).
Second, Ezra prepared his heart “to seek the Law of the Lord.” He was interested in knowing what God had to say. Should we all not have the same interest? The Scriptures are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The information contained in the Bible should capture the interest of every man.
Third, Ezra prepared his heart “to do” the Law of the Lord. Knowing the will of God and following the will of God are two very different things. Religion is not merely an intellectual exercise; it should be a way of life!
Finally, Ezra prepared his heart “to teach statutes ad ordinances in Israel.” We cannot be selfish when it comes to the truth of God. We must be willing to share it with everyone in our lives. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, of the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
Have you prepared your heart like Ezra?