Archive for the ‘Ezra’ Category

October 2nd, 2015

Study the Law of the Lord

“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)

The narrative of Ezra jumps 57 years between chapters 6 and 7, introducing now the titular character of Ezra. The hand of the Lord is obviously upon him, as he approaches the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, and receives permission to return to Jerusalem and once again instruct the people of God in how to live according to the Law. Notice in our verse for today, though, that his motivation in doing this was not power nor prestige but rather a love for the Law and for the Lord. The Lord raises him up and puts His hand upon Him to once again provide a mediator between He and His people, and this mediator will not lead others astray as so many other leaders have done because of His passion for the Law of the Lord.

If you and I are to lead the people God has placed in our lives to a deeper understanding of what it means to walk in relationship with the Lord, then we must set our hearts to study the Law of the Lord, to practice it, and to teach it. Firstly, we must study the Word of God. Too many of us rely upon others to feed us instead of investing ourselves in concentrated meditation upon the riches of scripture. When we study, we grow in relationship and the Spirit cultivates our heart after Christ’s. Secondly, once we have studied, we must live out what we have studied. The Word of God is transformative, and how it transforms us displays its power and usefulness for when we proclaim it, which is our third responsibility. What we learn, we must entrust to others, who need to know what it means to walk worthy of the calling of God upon their lives.

Are you studying as Ezra did? Are you practicing? Are you teaching? Commit today to grow in one of these areas for your own good, the good of those around you, and, of course, for the glory of God!

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 2nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Scripture, Witness.
Interact No Comments
September 25th, 2015

Joy is the Heart of Worship

“And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” Ezra 6:22 (ESV)

Joy is the heart of worship. In fact, I like to define worship as “joy expressed.” The heart of the feast mentioned above for the people of God was joy found in God’s faithfulness to them in allowing them to return to their land of promise and begin the process of rebuilding their temple. They were so overwhelmed by the provision of God that they could not contain their joyous response any longer.

Is worship for you fueled by joy? When you join your church to corporately praise the name of the Lord, are you motivated to sing those words and hear that teaching because of the inexpressible joy and satisfaction you have found in the saving work of Christ? When you serve on the mission field or in a local ministry near your home, are you doing so out of response to how Christ has so selflessly served you? If joy is not at the heart of your worship, then is it truly worship? Even in times of despair, our joy rises above that circumstance and allows us to sing hymns in the midst of prison cells.

Consider today all that you have to rejoice in from the Lord. Think about how faithfully He has guided you back to His promises and empowered you to do the work of ministry. Remember all the times that in the midst of adversity the Lord encouraged you and helped you to overcome. Write those remembrances down and use them as instruments of joy to fuel your worship today and every day as the people of God did upon returning to their home.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 25th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Joy, Worship.
Interact No Comments
September 24th, 2015

A Conflicted Return

“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.” Ezra 3:11-13 (ESV)

The Lord’s promise of restoration to Israel after their exile finally came to fruition. Having defeated the Babylonian Empire, the king of Persia, Cyrus, decrees (by inspiration from the Lord) that all the Jewish people may return to their home and rebuild the house of the Lord. As permission turns into reality, the laying of the foundation for the new temple is met with a mixed response. Some respond in joy toward the faithfulness of God to His people, recounting a praise first uttered by their great king, David. Others, however, are filled with sorrow by what they have lost and how far they have to go to reclaim it.

You and I have a choice in how we respond to God’s faithfulness after times of discipline. We can come through the other side rejoicing for how God has faithfully walked us through this process of refinement or we can focus on all that we have lost. We must remember that loss is part of pruning. God indeed requires sacrifice as a reminder to us of His supreme sufficiency.

When you look back on your life, don’t fret all that could have been. Learn from those lessons and walk forward in the joy that comes from obedience. Maybe you don’t have the old temple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a new one! Are you ready to lay your foundation?

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, September 24th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Response, Restoration.
Interact No Comments
October 2nd, 2012

He Set His Heart to Study the Law of the Lord!

“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)

The narrative of Ezra jumps 57 years between chapters 6 and 7, introducing now the titular character of Ezra. The hand of the Lord is obviously upon him, as he approaches the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, and receives permission to return to Jerusalem and once again instruct the people of God in how to live according to the Law. Notice in our verse for today, though, that his motivation in doing this was not power nor prestige but rather a love for the Law and for the Lord. The Lord raises him up and puts His hand upon Him to once again provide a mediator between He and His people, and this mediator will not lead others astray as so many other leaders have done because of His passion for the Law of the Lord.

If you and I are to lead the people God has placed in our lives to a deeper understanding of what it means to walk in relationship with the Lord, then we must set our hearts to study the Law of the Lord, to practice it, and to teach it. Firstly, we must study the Word of God. Too many of us rely upon others to feed us instead of investing ourselves in concentrated meditation upon the riches of scripture. When we study, we grow in relationship and the Spirit cultivates our heart after Christ’s. Secondly, once we have studied, we must live out what we have studied. The Word of God is transformative, and how it transforms us displays its power and usefulness for when we proclaim it, which is our third responsibility. What we learn, we must entrust to others, who need to know what it means to walk worthy of the calling of God upon their lives.

Are you studying as Ezra did? Are you practicing? Are you teaching? Commit today to grow in one of these areas for your own good, the good of those around you, and, of course, for the glory of God!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 268:  Ezra 7-10)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Scripture, Witness.
Interact No Comments
September 25th, 2012

Joy is the Heart of Worship.

“And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” Ezra 6:22 (ESV)

Joy is the heart of worship. In fact, I like to define worship as “joy expressed.” The heart of the feast mentioned above for the people of God was joy found in God’s faithfulness to them in allowing them to return to their land of promise and begin the process of rebuilding their temple. They were so overwhelmed by the provision of God that they could not contain their joyous response any longer.

Is worship for you fueled by joy? When you join your church to corporately praise the name of the Lord, are you motivated to sing those words and hear that teaching because of the inexpressible joy and satisfaction you have found in the saving work of Christ? When you serve on the mission field or in a local ministry near your home, are you doing so out of response to how Christ has so selflessly served you? If joy is not at the heart of your worship, then is it truly worship? Even in times of despair, our joy rises above that circumstance and allows us to sing hymns in the midst of prison cells.

Consider today all that you have to rejoice in from the Lord. Think about how faithfully He has guided you back to His promises and empowered you to do the work of ministry. Remember all the times that in the midst of adversity the Lord encouraged you and helped you to overcome. Write those remembrances down and use them as instruments of joy to fuel your worship today and every day as the people of God did upon returning to their home.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 261: Ezra 4-6: Psalms 137)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Joy, Worship.
Interact No Comments
September 24th, 2012

A Conflicted Return

“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.” Ezra 3:11-13 (ESV)

The Lord’s promise of restoration to Israel after their exile finally came to fruition. Having defeated the Babylonian Empire, the king of Persia, Cyrus, decrees (by inspiration from the Lord) that all the Jewish people may return to their home and rebuild the house of the Lord. As permission turns into reality, the laying of the foundation for the new temple is met with a mixed response. Some respond in joy toward the faithfulness of God to His people, recounting a praise first uttered by their great king, David. Others, however, are filled with sorrow by what they have lost and how far they have to go to reclaim it.

You and I have a choice in how we respond to God’s faithfulness after times of discipline. We can come through the other side rejoicing for how God has faithfully walked us through this process of refinement or we can focus on all that we have lost. We must remember that loss is part of pruning. God indeed requires sacrifice as a reminder to us of His supreme sufficiency.

When you look back on your life, don’t fret all that could have been. Learn from those lessons and walk forward in the joy that comes from obedience. Maybe you don’t have the old temple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a new one! Are you ready to lay your foundation?

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 260:  Ezra 1-3)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 24th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Response, Restoration.
Interact No Comments