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Let's Get to Work!

"Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel."
(Ezra 7:10)

The active year begins in March. In Brazil summer is gradually disappearing, taking with is the period of leisure, rest and travel, alternatives of enjoyment of the deserved holidays. This period was also another opportunity for deep and well meditated reflections on the errors and the wisdom of past achievements and for the search of a more adequate performance for the intended successes in the new period of performance. Finally March arrives and imposes "let's get to work".

Lamentably, many of those calling themselves Christians alienate the Lord from the cogitation which determines the active process of the new phase of achievement. For this reason they do badly and end up experiencing bitter failure.

Ezra had to "get to work". He did it leaving us a correct recipe as to what to do to be certain of favourable results. The Bible text reads: "Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel."

To begin with, we see in his attitude the right concern to act with the conviction of proceeding in the strict terms of the sovereign will of God. It is fundamental for us to do this when we "get to work".

Ezra did not go ahead sustained only by his own ideas, following the deceitful logic of his reason, the conclusions of his limited intellectual argumentation, the hunches and faulty guidance coming from the precarious wisdom of the advisors on duty. Placing his heart on disposal before the Lord, he searched the necessary conviction of the divine wisdom, to be sure that he was proceeding in His sovereign will.

It behoves us to follow the example of Ezra, so that we may have the conviction that we proceed within the will of God and do not "get to work" in a mistaken manner and fail. This conviction led Ezra to three important attitudes in his active behaviour, searching for God's aims and the consequent success on his remarkable mission. Let us see:

  1. THE INSTRUCTION - " seek the Law of the LORD" (v. 10a). Ezra was a scribe learned in the Law of Moses given by the Lord, and the good hand of the Lord was upon him (Ezra 7:9). It is therefore to be concluded that he was a man greatly enabled to carry out successfully the difficult mission which was being given him with the people of Israel. Yet he didn't act with a presumption that he already knew everything. He sought the "instruction" of the Lord in His Word. This is not what we see these days in the behaviour of many Christians "getting to work". This is why they fail. It is essential to constantly apply the systematic study of the Word of God to our active performance. It is disheartening to see a great negligence in this area on the part of many believers. The meetings for Bible study are poorly attended; the Bible schools which some assemblies offer, with profitable and adequate programming for the study of the Bible and for spiritual enabling of the believers aren't taken seriously and awake little interest. This is very sad and leads us to despondent perspectives. The shortage of values with spiritual capacity to "get to work" as the Lord desires is verified. Even in the personal exercise of the study of the Word of God there is much and harmful negligence. An increasing distancing from the indispensable "instruction" of the Word of God is noticed. There are, in the Bible, worthy examples of application in the instruction of the Word, as a reason of success (see Jeremiah 1:7-8; Nehemiah 8:1-8). The Lord Jesus used Scripture to lead His disciples to understanding and to enabling for the great mission of evangelising the world. (Luke 24:44-49). Paul emphasised, in his teaching, the importance of enabling in the Word (2Tim.2:15). The Word of God is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psa.119:105). It should be our daily meditation (v.97). It makes us wise, prudent and restrains our feet from every evil way (vv. 98-102). May we say, like the psalmist: "How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (v.103).
  2. THE LIFE – "to do it" (v. 10b). Ezra sought the instruction of the Word of God not only to boast of his knowledge, but because he understood its importance to a dedicated life. He didn't seek it to simply file it away as an intellectual property, but to comply with its entirety in the performance of his important mission. No doubt the Word of God is the great subsidy for us to live, faithfully, our Christian career. Many today know a lot of the Bible, concerned with the display of theological wisdom, but live very far from its divine dictates. With their lives outside the Bible standard, they dishonour the Christian faith and God, disastrously contributing to the bad testimony of the Gospel. One day they will have to give an account of this reprehensible behaviour. There is a notorious behaviour deserving rebuke on the part of many, sometimes revealing exaggerated and futile religiosity, but no spirituality. Like Ezra, let us seek to fulfil the Word of the Lord in our lives. Paul solemnly exhorts us concerning this in Ephesians 4:1; 5:15 (the verb "to walk" in these texts has the sense of "to live").
  3. THE MINISTRY – "to teach ... in Israel" (v. 10c). The expression "ministry" has to do with the service the Christian must render to the Lord, faithfully accomplishing the purposes of the Lord in various areas of his responsibility as a child of God. The concept of "minister" is exposed by Paul 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, where the expression is strictly related to the condition of "steward". Paul says here that God requires of the stewards (servants, v.1) that each one be found faithful. God enables us to live up to His standard and to serve Him faithfully. One of the important aspects of ministry is teaching. We must be worthy instruments of the Lord in this ministry. It is carried out in our permanent verbal testimony. To witness is not only the exercise of the preaching, evangelistic or teaching ministry (spiritual gift) but it is the duty that every Christian has of speaking of His experience as a converted person and of communion with God (see Acts 1:8). But the teaching ministry also has to do with our example of faithfulness to the standard of Christian life. The ministry of the faithful practice of the Word becomes very efficient teaching. Ezra exercised with great effort the ministry of teaching in Israel, decisively contributing for the restoration and spiritual benefit of the people of God. Let us "get to work" following this sublime example.

The challenge of the Lord is before us. "LET'S GET TO WORK" with dedication to the study (instruction) of the Word of God, fully living (accomplishing) the standard of the Word of God and ministering (teaching) the Word of God faithfully!