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Ezra Preaches

The Bible in Art: Ezra Preaches 

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Verses for Consideration: Nehemiah 4:13-18

5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

7 The Levites-Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah-instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there.8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clearand giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.

9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.”For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

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How does it happen? The Bible goes onto the shelf and doesn’t find its way back into our hands for days, weeks, or even months. Yet that is what happened to God’s people in the Old Testament. It had come to the point that they were no longer familiar with what God’s Word said. Many of them no longer recognized their sin or felt any need for God.

God raised up spiritual leaders in Nehemiah and Ezra to bring about a renewal among the people. They led the people back into the Word of God. The people saw themselves for what they really were-sinners who had been unfaithful to their God. Through his wonderfully good news, God restored joy to their hearts and lives. God led them to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in a way it had not been celebrated for centuries.

God does this work daily in our lives. Through his powerful Word, he brings us to honest evaluations of ourselves. He leads us to see that we are sinful and deserve nothing from him. He daily restores to us the joy of our salvation. In his life-giving Word, he leads us to the cross where we find forgiveness for all sin.

In his good news, we find the motivation to love and serve God.

We have a powerful tool at our disposal. It is the gospel, the power of God for salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). It is our privilege to have access to that power on a daily basis. It is our privilege to share that life-giving message with others.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you for the spiritual blessings you have brought to me in your Word. I pray that you would continue to keep me close to you. Grant me the strength and courage to give the gospel to the world so that all may hear the good news of Jesus Christ. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Title: Ezra Reads the Law to the People (1889)

Artist: Gustave Dore