Have you ever been so focused on the journey to get somewhere that you weren’t sure what to do when you finally arrived? Maybe you checked into a motel with your family, and realized that you probably needed something to eat, but hadn’t yet figured out where to go. Maybe you were in a foreign city, and just looked out the window to see what was happening around you. Or, maybe that’s just me.
Although some might say, “Getting there is half the fun”, this is not always the case. Sometimes, one must prepare for not only how to get to one’s destination, but also what to do upon arrival.
Let’s pick up in Chapter 7 of the book of Ezra.
this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him.
Ezra 7:6 NIV
After more than 6 chapters, the namesake for the book of Ezra “finally” shows up in the book itself. If you’ve been following along with these articles, remember that the books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah aren’t necessarily about individuals nearly as much as they are about God’s plan to return the exiles to Jerusalem and rebuild it, which is a key part of His plan that we learn about in the New Testament. So, while the book of Ezra contains information about a man named Ezra, it’s not primarily about his life story.
Let’s take a closer look at this man, Ezra: His lineage traces back to Aaron himself, so he’s a Levite who could be a priest. He is described as a teacher (or “scribe”, per the NASB translation), and – like the exiles in the time of King Cyrus – God has caused the king of a foreign land to provide for him and his people.
So, it appears that Ezra was a priest (by lineage and role, confirmed elsewhere in Ezra), a scribe (by training), and a teacher (by purpose). I think that it’s important to remember that God has placed us each in a particular place in history, with both abilities and circumstances that are aligned to His plan. Our heritage and ancestry are a part of this (typically including good things that we should build upon, as well as other things that we can improve upon). Our various forms of education (whether through formal schooling or life experience…or both) combine with our God-given abilities (gifts, skills, capabilities, strengths, etc.) to enable us to excel at certain things. And, our purpose – which must ultimately come from God – drives us to use our current opportunities for good.
In that light, notice Ezra’s commitment in verse 10, which is a good example for us today.
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 NIV
We might not have the same specific lineage, training, and purpose as Ezra, but I find three key things in this verse that I think we all can embrace:
- Study God’s Word
- Practice God’s Word
- Teach God’s Word
I think that every follower of Jesus (excluding a few who might have learning disabilities or other conditions) should be able to do these three things. They don’t take a Bible college degree, or a membership in a monastery, or a teaching role. Every single one of us should be regularly studying God’s word, following His instructions (both written commands in the Bible, and the Holy Spirit’s day-to-day guidance), and telling others what God has to say.
So, our current place in this world may not look like Ezra’s, but – just like Him – God did not put you or me where we are by mistake. So, as Ezra did, may each of us try to regularly Study God’s Word, Practice God’s Word, and Teach God’s Word.
If the past few days of your life didn’t include all three of these activities, maybe you’re like the traveler who got to his or her destination and didn’t know what to do next. I suggest that you read through this chapter of the book of Ezra, and try one of these positive examples from him, today.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for January 22, 2023
- The Lookout, January 22, 2023, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.
- The College Press NIV Commentary – Ezra-Nehemiah, by Keith Schoville. © 2001 College Press Publishing Co.
2 thoughts on “I’m Here. Now What?”
A good illustration is all the people who retire and then say “now what”? They tend to not do anything compared to those who have prepared for that time of life.
The Christian who is asked “why do you need God? Do you honestly believe everyone needs God?” Like the little dog that chased cars and finally caught one…now what?
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That’s a good example! Like retirement, we should be prepared for questions that we haven’t been asked yet (1 Peter 3:15)
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