There is always a story behind a story.
The story of Ezra is packed with many accounts, records and lists of the exiles that returned to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon. We read about the incredible journey of God’s people as they work to rebuild the temple through the reign of more that one king, one of which puts a complete stop to the work. Alongside this great story another story unfolds that helps us understand how God was working in the lives of the people. God had raised up a great teacher and leader among them. “Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.”
After many years of wandering from one place to another and with so many years of influence from the “outside” world the new gathering of the people of Israel had strayed from the practices of the Law of the Lord. Ezra, with his knowledge and understanding of scripture began teaching and preaching the word of the Lord so that the people would come back into a right relationship with God. Ezra’s story reaches beyond that of the book scribed with his name, you can continue to read about his ministry in Nehemiah chapter 8. “Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, Amen! Amen! Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” (8:6). All this happened when Ezra opened the book, (the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel).
Fast forward to today, what we have is much like that in Ezra’s day. Our bibles are filled with stories that have the power to change lives. Many of us gather together every week to listen to the Word of God being preached, we listen to how God speaks through His word to us. When was the last time you responded with a loud Amen! Amen! bowing in worship to the Lord? The stories we read, each one of them are there for a purpose and when the time is right God will use them to shape our own personal stories, and when that happens it deserves a loud Amen.