by Wayne Barber
We have seen from the life of Ezra that he was a man whose life had been deeply affected by God's grace. The purpose of Ezra's heart was to "study the law of the Lord." He was greatly committed to not only knowing what God's law was, but to doing it. His lifestyle of obedience to God's will was a light to others in a very dark time in his nation's history.
But we notice something else about Ezra: It was the people on Ezra's mind. Isn't it interesting how we develop a burden for others to know the same God we know only when we are living surrendered to Him and to His will? The last part of verse 10 says, "…and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel." He had discovered something about God that he wanted others to know. Do we many times miss this? We try to train others in the methods of sharing their faith, but forget that we cannot give them the burden. Ezra wanted his people to know that obedience to God was their answer, too!
The word translated "statutes" means "that which is prescribed." I find that interesting. God's Word is exact. It is the only "prescription" that will cure us of our misguided lives. Years ago, I was sound asleep one night until stomach trouble woke me up. I had been in the midst of a wonderful dream, so when I got to the bathroom to take my prescription, I did not turn on the light. I wanted to hurry back to my dream.I picked up a bottle that felt like my prescription and shook out two pills that felt like my medicine and took them. What happened next told me that "prescriptions" are exact and anything else will not do. I went right to sleep but could not wake up the next morning. We were going on a staff retreat and I remember the others telling me that I wasn't driving. When we got to the retreat site, they put on a Christian video. It was a funny presentation but they said that I laughed unnaturally. They said, "Wayne, it isn't that funny!" After the video, I kept watching the test pattern. When I talked, my lips seemed disjointed from my body.
Turned out that the pills I had taken were two of the most powerful muscle relaxants known to man. Wow! I didn't help my stomach a bit. I took that which had not been prescribed for my problem. There is no substitute for God's Word. It is exactly that which is prescribed for our lives. Ezra knew this, because he had taken it and was overwhelmed by how it worked in his life.
"Ordinances" refers to God's judgements. Israel had to learn that God had every right to do what He did in their captivity because of Israel's disobedience. Ezra was a man so affected by God's Word he only wanted to tell others about it.
Years ago I was deer hunting in Alabama. I was sitting in a stand on a huge field. It was called a "box" stand. I was comfortable, and almost asleep, when a large flock of turkeys came into the area. The owner had planted a kind of grass that made the deer go crazy but turkeys also loved to feed on it. These hen turkeys just dove into this special grass which had a little nut on the end of it. Well, after a while I heard a loud "cluck!" from the woods. One of the turkeys in the flock heard the same thing. She ran out into the middle of the field and signaled the lost turkey in the woods with her own "cluck." There was an immediate answer from the woods.
It was so funny trying to watch this concerned turkey give directions to this other female turkey. This went on for at least twelve minutes. First the turkey in the woods was over to the left, then over to the right, and then way bac k in the woods, apparently confused as to where this "cluck" was coming from. Finally she emerged from the woods and when the two of them finally met, they just jumped up and down and danced around each other. It was like the one signaling the other was saying, "Where have you been?! Get over here and eat with us."
What's your point, Wayne? Well, isn't it interesting that out of all those eating, only one realized that there was another who didn't know what she was missing and went to make sure that she wasn't left out? It's kind of like that in Christianity isn't it? We are so busy learning and not obeying that we have no burden for others to know. But, once in a while, someone starts obeying what they have learned and immediately starts seeing what he could not have seen before, that there are others out there who just don't realize that God's Word is exact and the only answer for mankind.