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Ezra was a Levite scribe and a direct descendant of the high priest Aaron in the 5th century B.C. Unlike many people today who ignore God, Ezra believed in God and had a burning zeal for the pure worship of Jehovah. He was a true servant of God who sought to know, teach, and practice God’s law in Israel. With the help of King Artaxerxes, Ezra returned to Palestine to advance the pure worship of Jehovah.
Ezra 7:10 reads as follows: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” This verse highlights Ezra’s dedication and commitment to studying and following God’s law, as well as his desire to teach others about it. It serves as an example of the importance of having a zeal for the knowledge and practice of God’s teachings.
Ezra 7 is a chapter in the book of Ezra, which is a part of the Old Testament in the Hebrew Bible. This chapter details the arrival of Ezra, a priest, and scribe, in Jerusalem from Babylon to reestablish the worship of God and to teach the people the laws of God.
In Ezra 7:10, it states that Ezra had set his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it and to teach in Israel the statutes and ordinances. This verse highlights Ezra’s dedication to God and his zeal for pure worship.
The chapter goes on to describe how Ezra was commissioned by King Artaxerxes to lead the Jews back to Jerusalem and to rebuild the temple. The king’s decree also granted Ezra authority to appoint governors and judges and to enforce the laws of God.
Ezra 7 is significant because it demonstrates the importance of seeking God’s laws and promoting pure worship. It also shows the support and encouragement that can be received from leaders and those in authority when one is dedicated to serving God. The chapter serves as a reminder to all believers to be diligent in their pursuit of God’s laws and to strive for pure worship.
Ezra 8:17 states, “And I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a straight way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” Ezra 8:21 says, “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” These verses describe Ezra’s call for a fast as he and the people of Israel prepared to make a journey to Jerusalem. The purpose of the fast was to seek guidance and protection from God as they embarked on their journey. The fast was also meant to demonstrate their humility and dependence on God.
Ezra 9:3-10:8 describes the events that took place after Ezra learned of the transgression of the people of Israel in taking heathen wives. This news caused great distress to Ezra, who was zealous for the pure worship of Jehovah. In response, he gathered the people together and made them swear to be submissive to Jehovah’s will in the matter of returning these heathen wives and separating from pagan worship. All those who refused to do so were to be banished and their goods confiscated. Three days later, a large assembly of the people gathered in Jerusalem and by the end of the next three months, all the pagan worshipers had been cleared out. This action likely caused much suffering, but Ezra was determined to follow God’s will regardless of what others thought.
Ezra 10:9-17 describes the follow-up actions taken by the people of Israel in response to Ezra’s request for them to confess their wrongdoings and clear out the pagan worshipers. All the people gathered in Jerusalem on the 20th day of the 9th month, and the matter of clearing out the pagan worshipers could not be taken care of at once due to the great number who had transgressed. Ezra instructed the people to take care of the matter gradually at appointed times. By the end of the next three months, all the pagan worshipers had been cleared out. This action likely caused much suffering to all involved, but the servants of Jehovah had to decide whether they would be primarily concerned with pleasing Jehovah or with pleasing the world.
Nehemiah 8:8-18 describes an event in which Ezra, the priest, reads the law of God to the people in Jerusalem. He stands on a platform raised high above the people so that all could see and hear him, and after a prayer to God, he begins to read from the law from dawn till noon. The law was written in Hebrew, but the people in general no longer understood it, so others interpreted it for them in Aramaic. As the people heard the words of the law, they wept, but they were told not to weep but to rejoice, that this was a time of joy and feasting.
The next day, the people again gathered for Bible education to give attention to the words of the law. They learned of God’s commandment to celebrate the feast of tabernacles, and they immediately went out to the forests, gathered boughs, and made themselves tabernacles to dwell in. There was great joy among the people, and Ezra continued to instruct them day by day from the first day to the last day of the feast. The people kept the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, there was a solemn assembly.
Ezra showed his zeal for the pure worship of God in various ways, including instructing the people, writing the book bearing his name and the two books of Chronicles, and compiling the Hebrew Scripture canon. He also pioneered and supervised the making of many copies of the Hebrew Scriptures for the use of the Jews in synagogues scattered far and wide. In all these ways, Ezra manifested his zeal for the pure worship of God and set a good example for all servants of God today.
Ezra’s Journey to Palestine
Ezra petitioned King Artaxerxes for permission to return to Palestine and advance the pure worship of Jehovah. The king authorized Ezra to return with whoever wanted to come and provided him with resources to obtain what was needed for the worship. He also gave Ezra the authority to appoint governors and judges who knew God’s laws and to punish anyone who refused to obey God’s law. With the blessing of Jehovah, Ezra gathered the leading men of Israel and returned to Jerusalem with a large group of people and a significant amount of treasure.
Ezra’s Zeal for Pure Worship
Upon arriving in Jerusalem, Ezra discovered that the people had taken heathen wives, a matter that caused him great distress. He made a moving confession in the presence of the Israelites and urged them to straighten out the matter by returning to Jehovah’s will. All the pagan worshipers were cleared out by the end of the next three months, causing much suffering to all involved. Thirteen years later, Ezra instructed the people in the law of Jehovah and wrote the book bearing his name and the two books of Chronicles. He also played a role in compiling the Hebrew Scripture canon and making copies of the Hebrew Scriptures for the use of Jews in synagogues.
Ezra’s zeal for the pure worship of Jehovah inspired him to pioneer in spreading God’s word and setting a good example for all servants of Jehovah. His devotion to God’s law and his efforts to advance the pure worship have benefited Jehovah’s servants throughout history. Like Ezra, all servants of Jehovah today should strive to know, teach, and practice God’s law.
Psalm 9:1 in the American Standard Version reads, “I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works.”
This verse expresses the speaker’s gratitude and commitment to giving praise and thanks to God for all the wonderful things He has done. It serves as an encouragement for others to do the same and to acknowledge God’s greatness and faithfulness.
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