5. THERE ARE SEVERAL PREREQUISITES FOR THOSE WHO WOULD BE GREAT TEACHERS.
Ezra 7:10 - "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel."
Here is a four-point sermon waiting to be expounded upon (note our archived lesson from 02/17/07). First, prepare your heart. A heart that won't submit is unprepared. Second, and more specifically, prepare your heart to seek God's law. This requires diligent study and zeal. Third, obey God's law in your life as an individual. Live what you learn; do not be a hypocrite. Finally, teach others also. This formula, when followed, never fails to produce great teachers for the Lord!
6. RESTORATION IS GOOD, BUT IT CAN EASILY LEAD TO LEGALISM IF CARE IS NOT EXERTED.
Here is another lesson from Ezra 7:10.
Ezra is credited with being the originator of the group known as the Pharisees. In Jesus' day, about 500 years into the future from this point in time, the Pharisees were known as a group given over to legalism and not restoration. Such can and does still happen today! Let us strive to maintain good attitudes before God and man always, understanding that our hope is in Him, not ourselves. Let us obey all aspects of God's law for us today without neglecting the weightier matters such as justice, mercy, and faith (cf. Matt. 23:23).
7. THE WISE WILL ASK GOD'S BLESSING BEFORE GOING VERY FAR.
Ezra 8:21-23 - "Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, 'The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.' So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer."
This group who was returning from Babylon to Judea trusted in God for safety and protection; they lived what they taught. They were wise to do so and have set a good example for us (cf. Rom. 15:4). God answered their prayer (cf. Ezra 8:31).
8. WHEN TRAGIC NEWS SHOCKS YOU TO THE CORE, STOP EVERYTHING & POUR OUT YOUR HEART TO GOD APPROPRIATELY.
"When these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, 'The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed is mixed with the peoples of those lands. Indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this trespass. So when I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked out some of the hair of my head and beard, and sat down astonished. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away captive, and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice."Ezra was not guilty of intermarriage personally, but he was a man of the people and felt the humiliation. This sin had to be dealt with, but it would not be easy. He did not know how to best proceed. So, he stopped, mourned, and prayed to the Most High God. This is a good and natural response to any tragic news.