What’s Next?

After preparing his heart, Ezra knew the hand of the Lord was upon him supplying mercy and strength to accomplish his purpose in the Lord. He would not journey alone.

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10.

In preparing to seek the law of the Lord, Ezra reveals the path to integrity.

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Ezra Sought the Law of the Lord:

“This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given…

Ezra the priest, a scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel…

a scribe of the law of the God of heaven…” Ezra 7:6,11,12.

A ready scribe is translated as an able scholar. In this instance an able scholar of the words of the God of heaven.

For Us:

To live a life of integrity there has to be a common standard by which integrity is measured. That standard is fulfilled in One and shown to us in His word.

Integrity will be found in:

One whose,

“…delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:2.

One who understands,

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes…

And is…

“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:

One whose heart is set to know the word of the God in heaven.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.” Psalm 119:105,106.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2Tim.2:15.

Once heard and received, a man of integrity will seek to do the word.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer,

he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way,

and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

But who whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein,

he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work,

this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25.

Seeking to know the word and putting the word to work in our lives leads to our teaching of it by example and speech.

Ezra’s Example:

“And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until the midday,

before the men and the women, and those that could understand;

and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law…

And Nehemiah…and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto the people,

This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.”Neh. 8:2,3,9.

And no one complained about the preacher being too long winded. Now, that is a work of God.

For Us:

We look at another example of integrity as we read the apostle Paul’s instructions to  Titus.  His words give us the definition of integrity.

“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine…

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works:

in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned;

that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Read the whole of Titus 2 for the complete instructions.

The walk of integrity is not a one time commitment but a daily journey of preparing the heart to seek, to do, and teach.

How’s your walk?

How Prepared is Your Heart?

“Blessed by the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart…and hath extended mercy unto me before the king‘s mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.” Ezra 7:27,28.

Ezra did not move forward without preparation. All along the way God’s mercy was extended to him. His heart assured him of the Lord’s presence strengthening him for the journey and work ahead.

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Retrieved from Pixabay’s free images.

Ezra’s Preparation:

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10.

How does one prepare the heart for the work of the Lord?

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5.

My husband, Papa Tom to the grandchildren, played a game with them when they were younger. He laid a quilt on the floor. The grandchild would lay on the quilt. Then Papa would roll him up in it like a cocoon with head and feet sticking out the ends. After being wrapped our great-grandson said he was a burrito not a cocoon. Papa instructed him to lay stiff and still as he carefully lifted him to the couch. Then with a quick even tug Papa pulled the quilt from around the child giggling and pleading to, “Do it again, Papa Tom!”

Papa Tom’s game illustrates what it means to commit. For the word, in its original, means, “rolled upon.” As our grandson committed his trust in his Papa, so we must commit or roll all our trust upon the Lord in the way we are to go.

“I call to remembrance my song in the night:

I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.”

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary, who is so great a God as our God; Thou art the God that doest wonders. thou hast declared thy strength among the people.” Psalm 77:6, 11-14.

When the heart is unsure, remember.

Remember:

The faithfulness of God is our hope, bringing with it assurance and joy.

When was the last time you woke in the night with a song in your heart?

The works of the Lord.

What work of the Lord has shown his Presence in your life?

The wonders of old.

What  favorite scripture reveals to you the wonder of God?

Next:

Ponder the questions in your heart and set your mind to make diligent search in God’s word. Enter into the holy of holies to find your answers.

“if ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Col. 3:1-2.

Finally:

Seek the things from above-life, truth, all that is eternal and not temporary. Think on these things and…

Give praise to our God for there is none like Him, none so great. Speak often of His wonder and works.

A prepared heart is the beginning of a life lived in integrity.


In my next post I hope to look at how the prepared heart seeks, does, and teaches others as we visit Ezra’s example and learn to grow in integrity.

Please, leave your answers to the questions in comments.  If you would like my answers ask. And thank you, for your comments and for stopping by.