One of my biblical heroes is Ezra. He lived in the 5th century BC, a Jew born during Israel’s Babylonian exile. He was a “scribe” and a descendent of Aaron, a priest of the Most High God. Ezra was a “teacher well versed in the Law of Moses” (Ezra 7:6). He was far more than a casual student of God’s Word. He was a skilled teacher who knew it backward and forward.
The book of Ezra also tells us five times in two chapters that “God’s gracious hand” was on Ezra. And it also tells us why:
“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” Ezra 7:10
This Jewish priest had never set foot in the land of Israel. But God called him to go and teach His Word to God’s people who had returned to Israel. Ezra obeyed and God graciously protected, guided, and provided for him every step of the way.
I want “God’s gracious hand” to be on me. What about you? Then let’s commit to be devoted to God’s Word. In Ezra 7:10, “devoted” means that Ezra was firmly established in and committed to God’s Word. For him, it was an enduring, life-long pursuit. But what does that look like day in and day out?
We are told exactly what Ezra’s devotion looked like in Ezra 7:10.
3 Characteristics of Devotion to God’s Word
1. Study – The Hebrew word translated as “study” or “seek” means to “tread a place frequently, with care, consult, inquire of.” Our study of the Bible should not be haphazard or casual. Every believer should take have a plan that gets us deep into the truths of God’s Word on a regular basis.
2. Obey – Ezra didn’t merely devote himself to the study of God’s Word, he was also committed to observing what he learned. Our study is not simply to know more about the Bible. Our goal should be application, obedience, and transformation.
3. Teach – The Hebrew word translated as “teaching” in the NIV includes not only the idea of educating (teaching information) but also training & application. As growing believers we should teach, mentor, and disciple other believers.
Want to be devoted to God’s Word? Which one of these 3 characteristics do you struggle with most and why?