He was finally here.
He didn't know if he should dance for joy or weep at the sight before him.
The rumbled remains of Jerusalem were still in the distance, and the sun gleamed behind the city like a beacon of hope. Or maybe it was a spotlight on their failures and all the work ahead of them.
He was going to look at it like a beacon of hope.
After all, God had made a way for him this far. He had moved King Artaxerxes' heart to send him and anyone who volunteered to go with him to Jerusalem. He had even sent the provisions and the original vessels from the Temple, as well.
Ezra could feel his heart twisting and jumping within his chest. He was so excited, and he couldn't hold it in anymore. He stopped abruptly and waved to the group of people tiredly stumbling around the rocks behind him. "Everyone, we are almost there!"
A weary, but happy cheer sounded from his traveling companions, and an older man, Tabza caught up to Ezra.
"Yahweh has set us on an excellent path." Tabza clapped him on the shoulder. Tabza just had this fatherly way about him. Tabza couldn't be more then fifteen years older then Ezra, but he supposed if he was also a father to ten like Tabza was then he would exude a fatherly attitude from his pores, too.
Ezra nodded. "Yes, the Lord has been good to us."
"You know why that is, don't you?"
"Because this is his will?"
"Well, yes," Tabza said with a chuckle. "But there's more to it then that. It's because you set your heart on God. You set your heart on his word, his law, to live and teach it." Tabza motioned to the city before them and the caravan traveling behind them. "It is because you were faithful to God. You set your heart on him, and he has blessed us and this endeavor because of you."
Based on Ezra 7, specifically verses 9 and 10.
"For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel."
What I wanted to talk about today was how Ezra set his heart on God. Multiple times in chapter 7 it talks about how Ezra was skilled in the Law of Moses, how to do it, and teach it. Because of that, God's hand was on him.
Because Ezra was set so on learning and living God's Law, God greatly blessed him? It makes me stop and think: "Wow, am I doing that?" What about you? Have you set your heart on studying God and His Word?
I know, I know. I say "studying" and you flash back to high school and college days where you had to study. It was necessary to pass the test, and about the biggest drag ever. That's not how we should approach God's word. (Never mind the fact that we need it in order to get through life without screaming/spazing/crying/pulling our hair out.)
I'm an author. Books are my love language, so just stay with me. Recently some of my absolute favorite authors have been writing sequels to some of their best-selling series that had ended years ago. So any second I can get to read, even if it's just a page, I take it. Late at night, first thing in the morning, for five minutes on my lunch break before I have to run out the door. I carve out every bit of time to devour these delicious tales.
What if we approached God's Word like that?
Correction: Why aren't we approaching God's Word like that?
"I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil." Psalm 119:162
Awesome verse! This is how we should feel about God, the Bible, the Law, living and breathing all it. I want the kind of hunger for the Word, the desperation to read it that I will randomly just pick it up to read BECAUSE I NEED MORE OF IT, ASAP!
That's how it was for Ezra. The reason Ezra was so blessed by God was because he lived and breathed the Word. That's what we should strive for, the I-can't-get-enough attitude for God. Amen.
V. Joy Palmer