Ezra: Determined to Study, Obey, and Teach God’s Word

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Picture of someone reading God's Word

Today’s Bible reading* gives us an example of someone who was deeply committed to study, obey, and teach God’s Word, Ezra the Priest and Scribe.

Ezra traveled for four months to return home from his captivity in Babylon. (Ezra 7:9) The Christian Standard Study Bible gives us a little insight into Ezra’s journey:

“Ezra’s journey toward Jerusalem probably began on April 8, 458 BC, but 8:15–31 tells of an immediate delay when it was discovered that no Levites were present. Taking the shortest route, this would be a journey of about five hundred miles. However, such a route across the desert would be unlikely in summer, particularly during a time of political upheaval that made travel even more dangerous. The more common route covered about nine hundred miles. After a fourteen-week pilgrimage, they probably arrived in Jerusalem on August 4, 458 BC.”[1]

So based on that insight, we see that Ezra probably traveled about nine hundred miles in four months (minus eleven days [Ezra 8:31]. If we figure that Ezra and his companions didn’t travel on the Sabbath, Ezra’s caravan averaged over ten miles each day. For fourteen. Long. Weeks.

Having hiked over sixty miles in the New Mexico Rocky Mountains over the course of ten days, I can tell you that it seems that all you do is hike all day long. When you finally settle down for the night, all you want to do is rest. You’re tired. Your feet hurt. Your legs hurt. Your back hurts. You’re tired. You’re hungry. You’re thirsty. Did I mention that you’re tired? And then you wake up early the next morning and start hiking again. Ezra was deeply committed to his task. Ezra knew that God’s Hand was on him and God sustained him and his companions on their journey. (Ezra 7:6, 9)

But Ezra was committed to much more than making the journey. He was deeply committed to God’s Word.

Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.
(Ezra 7:10, CSB)


Ezra was deeply committed to studying and obeying God’s Word for himself and then teaching God’s Word to God’s people. Ezra was “all-in”. Tradition says that Ezra had memorized the law and could write it from recall.[2] Ezra would need this deep recall of the Scriptures in order to teach God’s people. And his obedience and integrity would earn the respect of the people. Knowing and applying God’s Word would be necessary to lead the people to worship God.

Ezra wasn’t just an example for “ordained” people. Ezra was an example for “ordinary” people, too!

Many people in our culture have no knowledge of God’s Word. They don’t know it and they don’t care about it, either. As we contemplate Ezra’s example, God’s people have a tremendous opportunity — and responsibility — to know God’s Word, apply it to our own lives, and teach other people: our families, our friends, and our coworkers,

Don’t miss the importance of his commitment to obey God’s Word. Ezra didn’t just study God’s Word so that he could teach others. He internalized God’s Word in his own life. We really can’t teach what we haven’t internalized in our own lives either.

Telling people
— and demonstrating! —
how God’s Word has changed your life
can have a tremendous impact on the lives of others.

Spend some time today praying about your commitments to God’s Word. Have you “determined in [your] heart to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in” your own life? What changes do you need to make in your life?

[1] Anderson, Carl R. “Ezra.” CSB Study Bible: Notes. Ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017. 711. Print.
[2] MacArthur, John F., Jr. The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006. Print.

* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
Ezra 7
Ezra 8
Ezra 9
Ezra 10

This devotional was originally published on September 26, 2021.

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