Wednesday, July 13, 2016

the Bible teachers' Bible Teacher

The Word for today:
Ezra 1, 2
Along the way, you will meet certain lesser-known Bible characters who will become extra special to you. It might be a character whose life resembles your own. Or it might be a character whose story is particularly motivational to you.
I have three characters--Jacob, Amos, and Ezra--whom I have grown attached to in that special way. It's hard to say exactly why, but somehow I think they would understand what I'm facing, what I'm feeling, what I'm fleeing, what I'm fighting, what I'm fearing.
I hope you, too, find a few special Bible friends like mine. Though they are only paper people to us -- not alive in our hearts like Jesus is -- they can always be found on their pages when we need them.
Many of you know that I came to faith in Jesus Christ relatively late in life. So I've got no time to waste. And many of you also know that I'm not here to dink around with false modesty. I merely want to be the greatest Bible teacher that ever was. I might fall short, but at the very least I want to be able to look anybody in the eye and say that I ran this race to win, like my Bible says I should. (1). I don't know how a Christian, supernaturally gifted and empowered by the Holy Spirit, can aspire to any level short of Jesus Christ Himself, since He's doing the running. And then to pat ourselves on the back as we call mediocrity "humility."
But as we would-be contenders strain to gain an inch, way out in front of the whole pack is Ezra, the Bible teachers' Bible teacher:
  • The theme of the Book of Ezra is The Word of the Lord. (See 1:1; 3:2; 6:14, 18; 7:6, 10, 14; 9:4; 10:3, 5.)
  • Freed from captivity, the remnant (led by Ezra) returns to the Land, bearing precious Seed which had been kept alive in Babylon.
  • Furthermore, Ezra probably wrote Psalm 119--the great hymn in praise of God's Word.
  • It is also likely that Ezra wrote 1 and 2 Chronicles.
  • He was probably instrumental in deciding the canon (what should and should not be included) of the Old Testament.
  • It is also thought that he arranged the order of the Psalms.
  • And he was a great revivalist. It was Ezra who demonstrated that revival (in both Israel and in the church) is always prompted by just one thing--a revival in Bible study, because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (2)
But most important of all, Ezra serves as a picture and prophecy of "the Teacher come from God" (3)--who would be both Sower and Seed: "The Sower sows the Word." (4)
You see, even the Bible teachers' Bible teacher needs a Bible Teacher.
(1) see 1 Corinthians 9:24-26; (2) Romans 10:17; (3) John 3:2; (4) Mark 4:14

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