The book of Ezra whose name likely means, “The Lord Has Helped,” shares the life of Ezra who served as a priest and teacher, a man learned in matters concerning the commands and decrees of the LORD for Israel (7:11). A key phrase in his book is “The Hand Of The Lord.”
When I think of the classic movie Pinocchio, I remember the very lonely woodcarver, Geppato, makes a wooden boy (a marionette) which magically comes to life. Pinocchio longs to be detached from his marionette strings and wishes he could be a real, live boy and truly become Geppato’s son.
Like Pinocchio many want to live lives with no strings attached. We don’t desire anyone to control our lives because we want to be at the controls. However as a Christian God has cut the strings of our previous puppet master Satan from our lives. Pinocchio eventually runs away to the Land of Toys with his friend, Lamp-Wick. After five months of play, Pinocchio wakes up one fine morning and finds a great surprise awaiting him. His ears become like those of a Donkey. In a little while he changes into a real Donkey and begins to bray. Pinocchio having become a Donkey, is bought by the owner of a Circus, who wants to teach him to do tricks. The Donkey becomes lame and is sold to a man who wants to use his skin for a drumhead.
Like Pinocchio we have the tendency to run into sin, even though God has cut the strings from the enemy from our lives. The Apostle Paul said “1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. The thing that makes the difference once having the strings of bondage cut, is to stay in the boundaries that God sets for our lives by letting him control our lives. The repeated phrase “the hand of the Lord,” is what kept Ezra walking in righteousness before His Lord and God. Because God’s hand was upon Ezra, Ezra prepared his heart to seek God’s law, and to do it, and to teach it. God was Ezra’s authority and Ezra needed to make sure he pleased God just as you would like to please your employer. So Ezra prepared his heart (mind) by looking at his job description in God’s Law to make sure he was fulfilling his priestly role in God’s way.
The description of Ezra’s tasks and attitude would be laid out in the Law of God. Furthermore Ezra not only studied God’s law he did it. James reminds us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Satan is not moved by your reading, listening, singing, etc…, of God’s word, as long as you don’t obey it. Obedience to God’s Word is what Satan hates what God loves. Lastly Ezra went another step and taught God’s Word to Israel. I imagine that Ezra and God desired that God’s hand would be upon all Israel and therefore they needed to be instructed in God’s Law. Ezra was a reader, doer and teacher of God’s Law and with God’s hand upon him was God’s ambassador to the people of Israel.
May the Lord help us all to walk with His hand upon our lives, seek His Word, Obey His Word and teach His Word.
Until the nets are filled….Blessings Pastor Phil