Friday, June 20, 2014

THE LORD PUT HIS HAND ON HIM

When I read about the exploits of godly men in the Old Testament, my heart burns. These servants were so burdened for the cause of God that the powerful works they performed are baffling to Christians today. Their examples reveal a pattern for us to follow. These men possessed something in their hearts and character that caused God to choose them to accomplish His purposes and He is urging us to seek that same character quality.

Ezra was a man of God who awakened his entire nation, a man who had God’s hand upon him, according to Scripture. Ezra testified, “I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me” (Ezra 7:28). In other words, God stretched out His hand, enveloped Ezra, and turned him into a different man.

Why would God do this? There were hundreds of scribes in Israel at the time and they all had the same calling to study and explain God’s Word to the people. What set Ezra apart from the others? What caused the Lord to put His hand on this one man, and give him charge over fifty thousand people to rebuild the fallen city of Jerusalem?

Scripture gives us the answer: “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it” (Ezra 7:10). Simply put, Ezra made a conscious decision. He determined above all else to seek God’s Word and obey it and he did not swerve from that decision. He told himself, “I’m going to be a student of the Word and I’m going to act on everything I read.”

Long before God laid His hand on Ezra, this man was diligent in searching the Scriptures. He allowed himself to be examined by it and cleansed of all filth of body and spirit. Ezra hungered for the Scriptures and rejoiced in them; he allowed the Scriptures to prepare his heart for any work God chose for him. That is why the Lord laid His hand on Ezra and anointed him.