Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

Day By Day

 Nehemiah 6:10 - Nehemiah 10:1

I love the story of Ezra in the Old Testament. “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach.” (Ezra 7:10 emphasis added)

There are three important steps we learn from this verse.  If we want to be a powerful witness for the Lord we must prepare our hearts to understand His words, then we must act on what we learn, and last we must teach what we know to others.

Ezra was a renowned teacher of the scriptures.

Because Ezra possessed the wisdom of God he was asked to teach all those who did not already know the laws of God.  “And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until 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 Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose.”  (Nehemiah 8:3-4)

As Ezra read he “gave the sense,” or in other words, expanded the meaning and caused them to understand. (vs. 8 )

For seven days Ezra taught, “day by day, from the first day unto the last day.” (Nehemiah 8:18)  We learn that the people were attentive, they wept and prayed as they listened to the words, they understood what they were learning, and there was a very great gladness. (Nehemiah 8:3, 6, 9, 12, 17)

Think for a minute how many hours Ezra read the scriptures to these people. Seven days, day by day. We are led to believe that the people were not only attentive, but also even excited to hear his words.  More importantly, we know the scriptures made them happy.

I can’t help but wonder what kind of a teacher Ezra must have been.

Why was he such a good teacher?

Ezra had made a decision to follow the Lord.

First, he prepared his heart to seek the Lord, follow Him, and testify of Him.  Second, his actions played a significant role in changing not only his heart, but also the hearts of others.  Last, he was not afraid to share what he believed.

To teach.

Think for a minute about the opportunities you have to teach.  You might be a teacher in your own home.  Perhaps your calling provides you opportunities to teach.  Maybe your profession allows teaching experiences.

We must remember that our opportunities to teach are limitless and that they happen every single day.  But there is something else we must never forget:  We never know who is watching us, and we never know whose life we might touch in moments when we may not even realize we are teaching.

St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.

Preach the Gospel at all times.

From morning until midday.  Day by day.  From the first day unto the last day.

So far this year it has been our opportunity to study the Lord’s words.  I look back over the lessons we have learned and wonder if I am acting upon what I have been taught.  Am I learning to love the scriptures like Ezra did?  I want to.  Am I preparing my heart to do what I am learning?  I need to.

But even more important, I need to teach what I am learning.  Through my actions, through my example, through my communications.

From morning until midday.  Day by day.  From the first day unto the last day.

Reading Ezra has instilled in me a desire to be better at that.

Looking back I realize that I have learned a lot since January…but I haven’t acted upon everything I have learned.

I want to.

Starting today.

 

 

Emily Freeman