Practical lessons can be learned from the lives of Ezra and Nehemiah. Their books contain practical lessons for everyday life.
Ezra: 7:10 (Study… Practice… Teach…)
“For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it and to teach His statues and ordinances in
The pattern of Ezra’s preparation is exemplary, He studied and practiced the law in his own life before he opened his mouth to teach that law but the success of Ezra’s leadership did not come from his strength alone, but most significantly because “the good hand of God was upon him” (7:9). Ezra understood the need for preparation. Today many ministers and preachers of the word today try to “hear” God’s calling and rush into things with out proper preparation. They either rush their education if they receive any formal training at all. Ezra understood the need of removing the splinter in his own eye before tackling the plank in someone else’s (Matthew 7:4). Of course having God’s call is essential; if God’s not in it your doomed before you start, but at the same time without doing the work to prepare, with out a solid foundation in the Word, without taking the time to grow and water and tend that calling the enemy will sift you like wheat.
Ezra 8:21-23 (I proclaimed a fast)
“Then I proclaimed a fast there at the
, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way because we had said to the king, ‘The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him’ So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.” river of Ahava
… “and the hand of our God was over us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and the ambushes by the way. Thus we came to
and remained there three days.” Jerusalem
The Jews would soon begin a long dangerous journey on roads that were frequented by thieves who robbed for survival. Ezra and the people did not want to confuse the king regarding their trust in God’s protection so they sought him faithfully and prayerfully through a fast for his protection. God honored their faith and prayer with His protection. This is important because Ezra was aware of the importance of this Journey to God. However he did not come to God in arrogance, or pride claiming God’s protection on this journey, instead he humbled himself and had the community humble their selves before almighty God. We need to take a lesson in humility and reverence today before God. Today you see T-Shirts like “Jesus is my Homeboy” or I had someone tell me a few weeks ago (a grown man) “I call Jesus my bro in prayer”. These are both total lack of reverence and respect towards God. We have grown in society to a place of complacency towards God we need to find humility and reverence and fervency in our prayers and the way we address the almighty Lord.
Reconciliation with God:
Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly , men, women and children, gathered to him from
; for the people wept bitterly. Israel
“When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. I said, ‘I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who preserves the covenant and loving kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to praying before You now, day and night on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned.
Ezra and Nehemiah have a lot in common in these scriptures. Their contrite spirit before the people was evident; these extreme expressions of contrition demonstrated the seriousness of the sin issue at hand and the genuineness of their repentance. Both man had a deep sense of
’s significance to God and were greatly distressed at the fact that affairs hand not advanced for God’s glory. Most importantly and what we can draw from most today is that they understood the importance of repentance. Jerusalem
Ezra “wept and prostrated himself… according to Miriam Webster “to prostrate” is to be stretched out with face on the ground in adoration or submission; also : lying flat; and he did this in front of the whole community of God! Nehemiah wept, mourned, fasted prayed for days! How does that compare to our repentance today (be mindful that these men weren’t even guilty of the sins that they were repenting for they were repenting for the community!)
God requires repentance; Luke 13:3 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” 2nd Corinthians 7:10 “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death”
Today in many services in many churches across this world, on radio’s on televisions, it has become common for people to here sermons on the Gospel of Christ that are so watered down regarding salvation and regarding repentance, that they think they say one little prayer in their seat, on their couch, in their car on the way to work and they are saved. People do not understand the meaning of true repentance but here it is outline what the heart of repentance is by these two men.
“Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the
, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I nor my kinsmen have eaten the governor’s food allowance.”….. land of Judah
This refers to the provisions from the Persian administration and which Nehemiah had chosen not to partake because it would have to come from taxing his poverty stricken people. The scripture goes on to say how Nehemiah worked him self on the wall and provided himself for his servants at his own table… This is a wonderful example of being a Christian witness. Living the life walking the walk and being the example in leadership. Its all to often that in Christian leadership, leaders tend to become distant from the people, stand offish sometimes not even on purpose its just the role they tend to take on; but its always important to lead by example, to lead as Christ led; to lead from love and Nehemiah here is a perfect example of that.