S21P26 – Portraits of faith: Ezra
For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.
Ezra’s life was one of dedication. There are many things that can occupy that space in our lives. Some are dedicated to work, others to family and still others to leisure. While we are not called to be dedicated only to God, we are certainly called to be dedicated first to God. Being dedicated to God is evidenced by our relationship with him. Ezra’s relationship was one of getting to know God through learning and obedience and then allowing others to get to know God by teaching what he had learned. The product of this dedication is revealed in the previous verse.
Ezra’s travel to Jerusalem was successful “for the gracious hand of his God was on him.” [v. 9] And God’s grace was on him because of Ezra’s dedication to their relationship. Faith should draw us into intimate relationship with God. If we desire only part of him but not all of him, we must take stock of our faith. If we learn enough of God to think we are fulfilled, we must take stock of our faith. If we take that which we learn of God and from God and refuse to share it with others, we must take stock of our faith. Like Ezra’s, our faith should cause us to desire to draw always nearer to God and have others draw near to him as well.
Although we do not dedicate ourselves to God for the sake of receiving, the fact remains that the natural consequence of being truly dedicated to him is the outpouring of his favor. If we desire to be led by God’s hand, we must show that desire by first taking the step of following what He has already taught us. We must learn and practice following his commands and teach others to do the same. Father, increase our desire to have a greater relationship with You, and bring into our lives others who we can teach to be dedicated to You as well.