The Determined Disciple – Ezra 7:8-10

determined“Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in August of that year. He had arranged to leave Babylon on April 8, the first day of the new year, and he arrived at Jerusalem on August 4, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.” (Ezra 7:8-10, NLT).

King Cyrus of Persia had allowed the Jews to return to their homeland in 538 BC. The returning Jews rebuilt the Temple and completed it in 515 BC, approximately 70 years after its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar (This Second Temple stood for approximately 585 years until the Roman army of Titus destroyed it in 70 AD.)

In rebuilding the Temple, the Jews had encountered opposition from the local inhabitants of Jerusalem (other conquered people groups that had been resettled there by the Assyrians and Babylonians after the Jews were exiled).

Ezra was a Jewish priest and scribe and an important Persian government official. Ezra traveled to Jerusalem in about 458 BC to bring articles for the Temple and to establish God’s law and the laws of Persia. Ezra was accompanied by an entourage of over fifteen hundred men and their families, who traveled with Ezra to join the Jewish community in Jerusalem.

Ezra was also accompanied by God’s grace and blessing because he determined to study and obey God and to teach His law to God’s chosen people.

Isn’t that pretty much the same thing as what we are supposed to do as disciples of Jesus? Study and obey God’s Word and then teach it to others.

Ezra determined to study and obey the law of God. He made a purposeful effort to seek and follow God! And as a result, God’s grace–God’s blessing–was on Ezra.

No, God’s blessing didn’t happen to Ezra because he was a priest or scribe or by accident. Ezra made an intentional, deliberate decision to study and obey God’s law and as a result God’s gracious hand was on him.

In other words, Ezra was somebody God could use and bless because Ezra made himself available to receive God’s grace!

“Go and make disciples of all the nations…Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NLT)

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