First Thing Is First
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
Everything in life has a proper order. The correct sequence is crucial whether it’s a baby first learning how to crawl, then walk and finally to run. When a constructing a building one sets the foundation first, then the walls and roofing and then the interior details. First thing is first. Ezra understood this. He first set his heart to study the Scripture. Notice that it is with the heart, the wellspring of life that Ezra directed his affection and desire to do. What defines our lives is not so much what we think as it is what we love. In his love for God, Ezra ordered his heart to study God’s word. Secondly, he resolved to obey Scripture. He did not study to teach—he studied to obey. He applied God’s word to his own self first then he taught. The purpose of study is self application not knowledge in of itself. Thirdly he taught God’s statutes. There was an outlet for the application and knowledge i.e. there was a ministry of the word. A minister ministers the word of God that he first ministered to himself. As a result of his skill in the Scripture, “the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him” (7:6). In other words, the favor of God was upon him.
Point of obedience:
Direct my affection to study God’s word: Have my heart renewed, my soul refreshed and my spirit strengthened by God-breathed Scripture.
Study in order to apply it to myself first: Watch for the danger of studying only to preach without first being examined and changed by God.
Teach and preach from a place of application: Not only will it result in a stronger conviction and more depth in preaching but I am transformed into Christlikeness which is the end goal.
Thank you for being a God of order. Please forgive me for seasons of studying to preach instead of studying in order to be changed. Please bring me back to my first love of knowing you through your word. Especially in this season of busyness and studying for my master’s I need your grace to study for the sake of applying your word to myself first. I need your anointing Holy Spirit to teach with conviction and power. I love you.