Ezra 7:1–8:36, 1 John 4:1–6, Ps 107:1–22
Today’s Theme: Skilled for God
Be A Scribe for God
this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him. Ezra 7:6 (ESV)
Ezra is described as a scribe skilled in the law. He was a man who applied himself to the study, teaching and application (as a judge) of the law.
God has gifted us with skills which we should use for him. Matthew 25:15-30
Some reading this may still be in school, college or university. You can take your education and desire for studying, to be a scribe for God like Ezra, by applying yourself to the study and application of God’s word. 2 Timothy 2:15
God wants us to use our skills, professions and eduction in the service of the kingdom. Don’t just think of being used on the platform in church. Think about the skills, expertise and education you have and seek God for how that can be used. Romans 12:4–8 and1 Corinthians 12:14–20.
Our minds were created by God, not the devil. God desires that we use our minds to serve him. Intelligence can be a powerful tool, if our lives are surrendered in humble submission to God’s word. 2 Peter 1:5
Study, Do, Teach
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. Ezra 7:10 (ESV)
We should set our hearts like Ezra to study, do and teach God’s word. This three tiered approach to the bible is essential for our own lives today.
Study: We have all been called to study the word of God. Paul commended the Bereans because they were eager and took the time to check his teaching against the bible for themselves. Acts 17:11
Jesus rebuked the sadducees for not knowing the scriptures in Matthew 22:29
Do: James tells us in James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Read James 1:22-26 for fuller context.
Paul also reminds us in Romans 2:13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”
Teach: We are not all teachers in the professional or ministry sense but in an everyday sense we are meant to be teachers, sharing the truth of Gods word with one another.
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Not Just Natural, Supernatural
For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. Ezra 8:22–23 (ESV)
Ezra and those with him knew that their skill and intelligence were not enough to keep them, they knew they needed supernatural help.
Ezra shows clearly that his faith is not in his own ability but in God and demonstrates this by fasting and praying.
He had made a bold declaration of faith to the king that God would keep them and now needed to see God come through for him. He does not sit passively by and wait for Gods help, he seeks God.
We must learn from this that although God has given natural gifts that he wants us to use for him, we need to recognise that we need the Lord’s supernatural (superior to natural) help from God the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:17
God enhances our gifts, gives us wisdom that we could never learn and does all that we cannot do to see his purposes fulfilled. Lets determine to trust him Like Ezra did today and rely on God the Holy Spirit and not our own skill. Romans 8:6–11
With God our gifts and skills become supernatural. Acts 1:8
The Validation Test
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 (ESV)
When John tells us to test the spirit he is saying that if a spirit speaks to our hearts or through a “teacher” we need to take what we hear through a validation test.
John does not tell us to test the spirit using intuition or some mystical, spiritual method, he asks us to engage our minds with a simple test.
First, is Jesus proclaimed as the Jesus of the bible, the Son of the Living God who became incarnate in flesh to save sinners? (Verse 2-3)
Second, is the word or teaching in opposition to the teaching of the Apostles, because John boldly declares that all who are against them are against God (verse 6).
So this is how we sniff out error, not with our feelings but by engaging our God given minds to measure what we hear against the word of God.
The Spirit of God will NEVER lead us in contradiction to the word of God or the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Just because someone says God says… do not believe them… first take it through the validation test.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 (ESV)
We thank God that we overcome, not by our own strength but by God’s strength because it is God in us who is greater than the enemy. This should encourage us today.
The Healing Word
He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Psalm 107:20 (ESV)
We give thanks to God today because he is good. God’s word has the power to heal and deliver us. We submit to and give thanks to God for loving us and giving us his word today.
When God sends his word we need to hear it, believe it and apply it.