09/19/18 Determined in His Heart

READING: Ezra 7-10

“Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, 

and teach  its statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

Ezra 7:10

Listen to these words that describe the heart of Ezra, a scribe who led a second group of exiles back to Jerusalem in the 6thcentury B.C.: “Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). More literally, he had “set his heart on” this direction with full devotion. 

He was not just a teacher who transferred information. Rather, he devotedly followed the proper order of studying the Word, obeying it, and teaching it to others. 

  • Studying by itself could have become idolatrous intellectualism. I’ve been there, especially early in my doctoral studies. 
  • Obedience by itself could have become separatist legalism. I’ve been here, too, in my beginning years of ministry. I was never wrong (so I thought), and I had a rule for everything. 
  • Teaching by itself could have become shallow hypocrisy. I’m afraid I’ve been in this place, too – when my profession of teaching was somewhat disconnected from my walk with God. 

At times, my life has not been near the high standard of Ezra, who studied the Word so he knew it well, showed its value by obeying it, and thus taught it to others with integrity. The “gracious hand of his God was on him” (Ezra 7:9), and that fact made all the difference.

My prayer is that I, too, would always determine in my heart to work in the right order: studying, obeying, and teaching. I want the hand of God on me.  


  • If you are a teacher or facilitator in your church, determine if you are following Ezra’s pattern.
  • Pray that your pastors would follow that pattern, too. 

PRAYER: “God, let me study, obey, and teach Your Word.”  


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