Ezra teaches us a lot about being a preacher of God’s Word. As I read through the book of Ezra, this description of the man struck me as the goal for the faithful pastor. Ezra 7:10 tells us three things about how God made Ezra into the teacher/preacher that He would have him be.
Seeing the Glories of God
First, Ezra set his heart to study the Law of the Lord. Ezra was a man of the book, just as we who would preach God’s Word must be. Our first calling is to God, not the ministry. Ezra is described as a man who loves God and so loves His Word. This time at Southern Seminary is a period set aside to know God better through His Word. We toil and study to be a workman who has no need to be ashamed, as pots of clay who have been made to understand the treasure we possess all the more.
Fighting to Be Happy and Holy in God
Second, Ezra “does” the Law of the Lord. Certainly Ezra was shown his need for Christ by the Law. However, he was set on being as obedient as possible to the commands of God; not to earn favor from God but out of an overflow of God’s favor secured for him by grace and faith alone. The truth is nothing to us if we do not come to experience the sweetness of it and subject the entirety of our lives to it. The fruit of the Spirit is more important than the gifts of the Spirit. God would have His men be holy men just as He is holy.
Proclaiming the Mercies of God
Lastly, Ezra sets his heart to teach the statutes of God to Israel. He has been set apart for a certain task: to push this congregation up into faith and obedience. For us, we have the more clear goal of pushing people deeper into Christ; calling their eyes again and again to peer up and out, into the sin-destroying glories of God in the gospel of absolute free grace. Ezra, by grace, has been made to see beautifully. Now it is his life to labor for the sake of Israel, that they would see God as He is, trusting in His gracious provision for their redemption and justification alone and allowing the gospel to fuel the fight for holiness and happiness in God.