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Old and New Testament.
December 16, 2015
Ezra 7:10 For
it, and to
context 7:1-10 )
(active voice = Ezra made a volitional choice in his heart to
seek the law, etc)
My rendering of Greek:
Because (for) Ezra had made a personal choice, a choice of his will to
give (devote) his heart to seek
after the law and to continually practice (present
tense) it and to continually teach
it in Israel (both) the ordinances and the decrees.
Amplified: For Ezra had prepared and set his heart
to seek the Law of the Lord [to inquire for it and of it, to require
and yearn for it], and to do and teach in Israel its statutes and its
Bible - Lockman)
Ezra had set his heart to seek the law of Jehovah, and to do it, and
to teach in Israel statutes and ordinances.
Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it,
and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
NLT: This was because Ezra had determined to study and
obey the law of the LORD and to teach those laws and regulations to
the people of Israel. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: For Ezra had set his heart to study the
law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and
ordinances in Israel.
FOR EZRA HAD SET HIS HEART:
(1Samuel 7:3; 1Chronicles 29:18; 2Chronicles 12:14; 19:3; Job
11:13; Psalms 10:17; 57:7)
calls Ezra 7:10 the "key verse" for he sees this as the key to Ezra's
the "Ezra 7:10 Principle" - the "secret" of Spirit empowered, Word
centered, Christ exalting, God glorifying preaching and "abundant
life" living (John 10:10).
of our heart - At the outset of this exposition, it strikes me
that Ezra's heart was like a compass, ever pointing to God through the
supernatural working of His Spirit and His living and active word. And
it was in this supernatural context of a Word saturated, God centered
heart, that Ezra, a man of the Book and the God of the Book, was
compelled (even impelled) to return to his beloved city of Jerusalem.
May we as believers on this side of the Cross find ourselves so
similarly saturated with God's love letter that it grips our heart
like it did Ezra's, so that we are compelled (even impelled) to live
progressively more and more with a Colossians 3:1, 2, 3, 4/Romans 12:1, 2
and the things of this present world grow strangely dim in the light
of His glory and grace. Amen. (Turn
Your Eyes Upon Jesus - Violin and Video;
O soul, are you
weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
FROM BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY
Context - Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther are the last three books in
the historical section of the Old Testament (Joshua-Nehemiah).
These three books tell us what happened to the Jewish people after the
70 Year Babylonian Captivity and give details of the three stages of
the return of the Jews (538, 458, 445 BC) to their beloved city
Jerusalem. In is interesting to note that there were also three stages
of exile to Babylon - 603, 597 and 586 BC!
THE 3 RETURNS OF THE
JEWS TO JERUSALEM
AFTER THE 70 YEARS OF BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY
= Time Lapse Between Ezra 6 & 7
All the Events of Esther Take Place During this Time
Serves as Priest in Jerusalem for the Intervening 13 Years
Ezra Appears in Nehemiah 8 After Wall Rebuilt - Revival
of the books of Ezra to Nehemiah and Esther - The book of Ezra
is a very interesting book because it is actually two books,
Ezra 1-6 comprising "book one" and Ezra 7-10 comprising
"book two". Between Ezra 6 and 7 there is a time gap of about
58 years! And guess what? During this 58 year time gap all of the
events in the book of Esther took place! Then Ezra 10 is
immediately succeeded by the events in the book of Nehemiah. So
compressed into these last 3 historical books of the Old Testament
canon, are four fascinating stories dealing with God's sovereign,
providential dealings with His chosen people after 70 year period of
punishment as captives in Babylon. In Psalm 137, the psalmist
gives us some insight into how the exiled Jews felt about this time of
exile. As you read these words filled with pathos, ponder the pain and
the pull of homesickness for the city of God that must have gripped
godly leaders like Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah...
Psalm 137:1 By the rivers of
Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 Upon
the willows in the midst of it We hung our harps. 3 For there our
captors demanded of us songs, And our tormentors mirth, saying, "Sing
us one of the songs of Zion." 4 How can we sing the LORD's song In a
foreign land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget
her skill. 6 May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, If I
do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.
Comment: These sad words
give us some insight into the emotions that must have filled and
motivated the hearts of men like Ezra and Nehemiah to resolve to leave
their comfortable conditions in Persia and return to their blessed
city of David. Dear NT believer, let the Spirit birthed yearnings for
our heavenly Zion and our glorious King, motivate and inspire and
compel us to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call
of God in Christ Jesus (see Phil 3:14-note),
not becoming comfortable with this present world which is passing away
and even its lusts (cp 1John 2:15, 16, 17).
Dear Father in heaven, according
to Your great lovingkindness please grant that your redeemed sons and
daughters might have hearts like Ezra and Nehemiah such that we would
continually contemplate and yearn for Mount Zion and the city of the
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22-note),
and that this longing and passion might by Your grace cause us to
order our steps ever upward during our short sojourn as aliens and
strangers (1 Pe 2:11-note)
in this present evil age. For Thy glory. Amen.
Kings during the time of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther -
1. CYRUS THE GREAT (550-530
This is the king that Isaiah had
long ago promised would come and deliver the children of Israel
(Isaiah 44:28; 45:1, 2, 3, 4, 5). He conquered the Babylonians and then allowed
the Jews to return to their homeland and to rebuild their temple (Ezra
chapter 1). Daniel was still alive when Cyrus was king (Daniel 1:21;
2. CAMBYSES (530-522 B.C.)
3. SMERDIS (he ruled less than a year)
4. DARIUS THE GREAT (522-486 B.C.)
Darius made a decree that the work
of the temple should be continued without any hindrance (Ezra chapter
6). It was during his reign that the temple was completed (Ezra
Note: Don’t confuse this king with Darius the Mede who is
mentioned in the book of Daniel (see Daniel 5:31; 6:1). Darius the
Mede was the governor of Babylon under Cyrus the Great.
5. AHASUERUS or XERXES (486-464
This is the king that we read about
in the book of Esther. Esther became his queen. He is also mentioned
in Ezra 4:6.
6. ARTAXERXES I (464-423 B.C.)
At first this king sent a decree
ordering the Jews to stop rebuilding the city and the walls (see Ezra
4:6-23). Later, however, he allowed his cupbearer, Nehemiah, to return
to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls (Nehemiah chapters 1-2). This
is also the same king who had earlier allowed Ezra to return (Ezra
These were all great kings, but as we read the books of Ezra, Nehemiah
and Esther, we learn that there is a much greater KING in heaven who
is in control of all things! (adapted
from Middletown Bible synopsis)
dictionary discussion for
background on Ezra)
(Hebrew conjunction transliterated as "ki")
Don't miss this conjunction which is used in Hebrew to introduce an explanation
functions similar to a term of conclusion. The New Living
Translation although a paraphrase strongly emphasizes the linkage
between this passage and the preceding passages writing that...
This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the law of the
LORD and to teach those laws and regulations to the people of Israel.
question is "What is this?" or "What does for
explain?" and to answer we need to observe the previous passages where
we find the powerful truth that the good hand of the LORD was upon
For on the first of the first month
he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he
came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon
him. (Ezra 7:9)
rendering (For Esdras had determined in his heart to seek the law,
and to do and teach the ordinances and judgments in Israel.) is
almost identical to the Hebrew rendering. The
renders the Hebrew word
for "good" (tob) with the Greek adjective
agathos which describes that which is
"good" in its character or constitution and beneficial, useful or
profitable in its effect.
Agathos describes that which has the
proper characteristics for performing the expected function in a fully
satisfactory way. What better way to think of the "hand of Jehovah"!
Always sufficient for the need of the moment.
The metaphor of
being in someone's hand (or having their hand on someone) was
common in the OT and spoke of being in the power of that person or
entity. In the present context, the picture is one of God's power (His
"good hand") being upon Ezra the scribe, not to defeat him but to give
him the victory. This same phrase (hand of his God) is repeated several times in Ezra
and gives us a clue to the "secret" behind his strong leadership, his
influence with kings and his soul stirring preaching. Notice the
same phrase earlier in this chapter...
Ezra 7:6 This Ezra went up
from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which
the LORD God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all he
requested because the hand of the LORD his God was upon him.
Comment: Why did this pagan
king grant Ezra his request? The Scripture clearly states "because the
hand of the LORD his God was upon him."
Here are the
other occurrences of the phrase the good hand of the LORD in
the book of Ezra...
Ezra 7:27 Blessed be the
LORD (the result of God's hand being upon him granting him favor was
to break out in a chorus of praise and thanksgiving, giving glory to
the only One Who should receive glory! As we experience His blessing
and hand upon us, may we also imitate Ezra's response!), the God of
our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to
adorn the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem, 28 and has
extended lovingkindness to me before the king and his counselors and
before all the king's mighty princes. Thus I was strengthened
according to the hand of the LORD my God upon me, and I gathered
leading men from Israel to go up with me.
Comment: This passage makes
it clear that it was God Who put such a thing into this pagan king’s
heart to allow Ezra and his fellow Jews to return and beautify the
house of the Lord in Jerusalem. As noted above (Ezra 7:6) Ezra still
had to go and ask for this favor (man's responsibility), even though
God had placed it in the king's heart (God's sovereignty). To go
before such a powerful monarch and ask for such extravagant
provisions for his people who were in captivity and whom the king
easily could have exterminated took courage. Where did Ezra derive
that courage? Read verse 28 again, which clearly states the source of
Ezra’s strength! There is an interesting principle here that God's
blesses but some of his blessings entail men fulfilling their
responsibility, the very principle Paul explains in the New
Testament (see notes
Ezra 8:18 And according to
the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of
insight of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel,
namely Sherebiah, and his sons and brothers, 18 men;
Prayer and Fasting and
The Good Hand of the Lord
Ezra 8:22 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 (exactly what
Ezra had purposed in his heart in Ezra 7:10), but His power and His
anger are against all those who forsake Him." 23 So we
fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to
Comment: This passage adds
another facet to the Ezra 710 principle (set heart, study, do, teach)
by emphasizing the role of prayer and fasting. This is not
surprising because intake of the pure Word into a godly heart will
stimulate Word centered, God exalting prayer.
Ezra 8:31 Then we journeyed
from the river Ahava on the twelfth of the first month to go to
Jerusalem; 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.
Summary of Effect of
God's Good Hand on Ezra
Ezra 7:27, 28
Fear of the LORD and
The Good Hand of Jehovah
Here is another passage
that teaches a similar truth using a different anthropomorphism (eye
instead of hand)...
Behold, the eye of the LORD (cp
"hand of the LORD") is on
those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to
deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine
(blessed = fully satisfied independent of the circumstances).
(Psalm 33:18, 19)
Comment: Deliverance from
evil does not come by military power, manpower, or horsepower but
spiritual power. And so we see that the Psalmist amplifies the Ezra
710 principle (set heart, study, do, teach, prayer and fasting in
Ezra 8:22, 23) with an individual's volitional choice to fear
(reverentially awe) Jehovah. (cp Ps 128:1, 2)
The Good Hand of Jehovah
Here are the other 2 uses of the
phrase "hand of Jehovah" or variation thereof in the life of Nehemiah, another OT saint
whom God used mightily to accomplish His work on earth...
Nehemiah 2:7 And I (Nehemiah)
said to the king (see ISBE article on
"If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of
the provinces beyond the River, that they may allow me to pass through
until I come to Judah, 2:8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of
the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the
gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the
city, and for the house to which I will go." And the king granted them
to me because the good hand of my God was on me.
Nehemiah 2:18 And I told
them (the Jews who would help build the wall) how the hand of my
God had been favorable to me (literally "the hand of my God
that is good upon me"), and also about the king's words which he
had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." So they
put their hands to the good work.
MISSING THE BLESSING
OF THE GOOD HAND OF THE LORD
This principle regarding the good hand of the LORD is
seen in the prophets words to King Asa (who sadly ignored them to
2Chronicles 16:9 For
the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may
strongly support (cp "good hand of Jehovah") those whose heart is
completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on
you will surely have wars.
Comment: Note that this
verse also begins with for indicating that the writer is
explaining something previously stated, in context explaining why the
LORD had delivered Asa's (and Israel's) enemies into his hand or
power. Notice how King Asa serves as an example (cp 1Cor 10:6,
11) of one who clearly experienced the the good hand of the LORD upon
him as king over Judah giving him victories over his adversaries (read
2Chronicles 15:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,
17, 18, 19 and 2Chr 16:1ff for the historical context). Don't miss how
Asa's "success" (cp "good hand of the LORD") was integrally associated
with his hearing (and welcoming) the word of Jehovah through the
prophet Azariah (cp Ezra's setting his heart to study and practice the
Law of the LORD) in 2Chronicles 15. Then contrast the time of
blessing ("good hand upon") of Jehovah in 2Chronicles 15:15, with
the consequences of refusing to receive and practice the Word of God
delivered to King Asa through Hanani the seer in 2Chronicles 16:1, 2,
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. The upshot - you can experience the good hand
of the LORD for a season and you can lose it by failing to continue to
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly! (see Col 3:16-note)
If any may thinks he stands, he had better take heed lest he fall. God
is opposed to ("stiff arms"!) the proud (cp "the heavy hand of
Jehovah") but gives grace to the humble ("the good hand").
righteous man (clearly a true believer - see 2Pe 2:6-note;
is another sad example of a man who missed the blessing of the good
hand of the LORD. In Genesis 13 the growth of the flocks of Abram and
Lot led to strife and the need for them to separate. Abram gave Lot
"first choice", a choice which resulted in Lot's missing the "good
hand of the LORD". Note the progression in the following passages...
Genesis 13:10 And Lot
lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that
it was well watered everywhere—this was before the LORD destroyed
Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt
as you go to Zoar. 11 So Lot chose for himself
all the valley of the Jordan; and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they
separated from each other. 12 Abram settled in the land of
Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and
moved his tents as far as Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were
wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD.
looked, chose, and settled ("became comfortable"
rather than living as an alien and stranger - see 1Pe 1:1-note;
1 Peter 2:11-note) and
missed the good hand of the LORD. In Genesis 19:16 we see that Lot
was so settled in Sodom that the hand of God's angels
had to yank he and his whole family out of that moral cesspool! Let us
remember Lot's example, lest our looking and choosing in this fleeting
life cause us to miss the good hand of the Lord on our life, our
family, our ministry! Or as Jesus commanded his listeners in (Luke
= keep on remembering. Why? Because our tendency is to drift, to
forget!) Lot's wife" because she lingered and looked back (Ge 19:26)
and paid for her disobedience with her life.
May God grant us each grace and
mercy so that we as godly men and leaders of our churches and families
will not forget these tragic OT examples of men who missed the
blessing of the good hand of the LORD! Amen
A MAN OF ONE BOOK
good hand was clearly associated with the provision, power and
protection in Ezra's ministry. And as we see seen the root of divine
blessing was that Ezra was a "man of the book" (scratch him
anywhere and he "bled Bible"), a
man like Apollos who was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24). Ezra
is a worthy model for any preacher who desires to be used mightily by
Commentary comments on the good hand of the LORD upon Ezra
His (Ezra's) soul felt the
quickening touch of the Divine finger, and it kindled with a sacred
glow of piety and zeal. He was moved of God to attempt great things,
and helped of God to achieve them. His life flowed on like a
fertilizing river (Ed: cp Ps 1:2), and did so because “all his springs
were in God” (Ps 87:7). Our character may contain much that is
excellent, and our lives include much that is honourable, but except
the “hand of the Lord our God be upon us,” renewing our heart
and blessing our life, we shall not be or do that which is pleasing to
him or useful to our fellows (Ed: Cp Jesus' words in John 15:5). (The
Pulpit Commentary: Ezra. H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.)
(1) Ezra “sought the law of the Lord.” No study more remunerative—more
ennobling—more pleasing to God.
(2) He sought it in earnest. “prepared his heart,” viz., by raising it
above impure prejudices; by seeking the light of the great Inspirer in
(3) He reduced it to practice. He prepared his heart “to do it.”
Glorious example. His life was therefore righteous, and his influence
consequently great—viz., (a) With God. (b) With the king. (c) With the
(4) And “he taught it to Israel.” He taught Israel the “statutes,”
viz., precepts and “judgments,” viz., sanctions (1 Kings 6:12; Ezek.
11:12). What a degenerate succession from the noble Ezra were the
scribes of our Lord’s day! Let us emulate his qualities.—J. A. M. (The
Pulpit Commentary: Ezra. H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.)
Ezra: his character and work.
The study of human character and of human life is not only an
essential part of human knowledge, but of spiritual culture. Biography
is a means of grace. We do well to follow in thought the lines along
which the noblest of our race have moved: we are thereby attracted
toward them, and grow up toward their spiritual stature. We may learn
from the life and character of Ezra by considering—
I. What we know he was and did.
1. A priest, claiming
descent, as we see, from Aaron (Ezra 7:5); and we doubt not that he
discharged, faithfully and conscientiously, the duties of the
priesthood. He was, moreover, what came to be called—
2. A scribe (Ezra 7:6),
i.e., (1) a student, (2) an interpreter, and (3) a copyist of the law.
Ezra “prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it,
and to teach,” etc. (Ezra 7:10).
These three functions of the scribe
include the three most important duties a man can undertake: viz.,
(1) his duty of himself, in
studying the will of God as revealed in his word, that he may have it
in his own heart; and,
(2) his duty to his own generation,
in teaching his fellows what he has learned: in interpreting, in
“giving the sense” (Neh. 8:8), in “teaching statutes and judgments”
(Ezra 7:10), i. e. in declaring and enforcing the great truths which
God had revealed, especially those which affected the duty and the
prospects of the Jewish people; and
(3) his duty to his race, in
copying, and thus multiplying and preserving intact the word and the
very words of God. Ezra “gave his heart” to this (Ezra 7:10), and the
result was that he did it with conspicuous and commanding ability
(Neh. 8). He was a “ready scribe” (Ezra 7:6).
3. Administrator and
reformer. He conducted the party whom he headed to Jerusalem in
peace and safety (Ezra 7:8); there he established himself as leader of
the people, and set about the work of reforming abuses with a vigorous
hand. His ardour led to a serviceable organisation and reform. He
seems also to have been, as few strong-willed men are, a co-operator
with others. He acted with Nehemiah, the governor, and it may well
have been difficult to define strictly their respective offices.
4. Man of influence with his
fellows. There was that about him, due to the elevation and
disinterestedness of his character as well as to the vigour and
robustness of his mind, which gave him strange influence with the
king, so that he gave him leave to lead out a large return party, and
also entrusted him with large powers in the commission. Men who, like
Ezra, earnestly seek the will of God and do what they know to be right
(Ezra 7:10), and lay themselves out for “doing good and communicating”
(Heb. 13:16), are likely to have power with men.
5. Man through whom God wrought.
“The hand of the Lord his God was upon him” (Ezra 7:6, 9,
etc.). His soul felt the quickening touch of the Divine finger, and it
kindled with a sacred glow of piety and zeal. He was moved of God to
attempt great things, and helped of God to achieve them. His life
flowed on like a fertilizing river (Ed: cp the man of Ps 1:2),
and did so because “all his springs were in God” (Ps 87:7). Our
character may contain much that is excellent, and our lives include
much that is honourable, but except the hand of the Lord our God be
upon us, renewing our heart and blessing our life, we shall not be
or do that which is pleasing to him or useful to our fellows.
II. Generally received tradition
It is commonly believed among the
Jews that he instituted the Great Synagogue, that he settled the canon
of Scripture, that he himself wrote the books of the Chronicles, Ezra,
Nehemiah, and (perhaps) Esther, and that he established the system of
synagogue worship. This last arose about his time, and, if indeed due
to him, is a work which laid his countrymen, and indeed us all (for
had not the forms of the synagogue something, if not much, to do with
the forms of the early Church?), under a heavy debt of gratitude. Ezra
was a holy and zealous man, with a strong mind and a firm will,
exercising a commanding influence on his contemporaries, making the
word of God the basis and mainspring of his action, seeking and
striving for the purity of the people of God. Some things he did we
know. Others we know not of. We may not be so great and distinguished
as he was. It may not be in our power to render such signal services
as he did, or to leave behind us such a reputation as he has left. Yet
in the essentials of his character and work we may be like him. We
(1) Be devout students of God’s
will as revealed in his word—“preparing our heart to seek the law of
the Lord, and to do it.”
(2) Open our hearts to receive
heavenly influences; gain by humility, docility, and prayer” the hand
of the Lord our God upon us,” so that he will dwell in us and work
(3) Make known the will of God to
others, teaching in some sphere, higher or humbler, the word of God
and the truth of Jesus Christ.
(4) Co-operate cheerfully with
others, yielding our preferences to theirs, being “of the same mind in
the Lord” with those who are our fellow-labourers in the field of
Christian work. And if we do this as did Ezra, we shall, like him,
(5) do that which men will mark and
praise, but much more that they will not record; much, however, that
will not be unwritten in some book of God, and that will “in no wise
lose its reward.”—C. (The Pulpit Commentary: Ezra. H. D. M.
To reiterate, God’s sovereign
hand of blessing and empowerment was on Ezra because
he was a "Word saturated man" one who "marinated" himself in
the pure milk of the Word and then lived out what the Spirit taught
him in his studies.
As Horatio Bonar once
We must study the Bible more. We
must not only lay it up within us, but transfuse it through the whole
texture of the soul.
Thus it was not
so much that Ezra had gone through the Book so many times, but more
that the Book had coursed through his heart and soul to the point that
his will was in synch with will of God which is always most
clearly revealed in the Word of God. Ezra was "in touch" with
the Father's heart, through His Word and the teaching ministry of His
Spirit, and as a result had as his heart's desire to see God glorified
in his life (cp notes on same principle in the NT - letting your light
Cole introduces his message on Ezra 7:1-28
that God Blesses
with the following words...
Over thirty years ago, I read a
sermon that has impacted my life as much or more than any of the
thousands of sermons that I have read. It is titled, “Expecting the
Lord’s Blessing,” by the late Chinese evangelist Watchman Nee (in
Twelve Baskets Full [Hong Kong Church Book Room], 2:48-64). That
sermon, based on the Lord’s feeding of the 5,000, has affected the
entire direction and motivation of my personal life and my ministry.
Nee hammers home a simple but profound truth: “Everything in our
service for the Lord is dependent on His blessing” (p. 48). He
observes that in the feeding of the 5,000, the supply in hand was
totally inadequate to meet the demand, and yet the demand was met. He
says, “The meeting of need is not dependent on the supply in hand, but
on the blessing of the Lord resting on the supply” (ibid.). That leads
Nee to ask a question that I want you to ponder seriously: “Do we
really prize the Lord’s blessing?” (p. 49). Do you really want and
seek God’s blessing on your personal life, your family, your service
for the Lord, and on His church?
We all know the right answer to
that question. Few would be so brazen as to say, “No, I don’t want
God’s blessing. I’d rather try to make my own blessings apart from
God!” But I don’t want you to give a knee-jerk “yes” answer just
because it is the obviously correct answer. I want you to think about
the implications of the question before you answer.
There are a number of men in
Scripture whom God blessed: Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and David are
prominent examples. But Ezra is also a man whom God blessed, even
though he is not so well known as those other men are. We first meet
him in chapter 7 of the book that bears his name. There is a 57-58
year gap between the events in chapters 6 and 7. The temple had been
rebuilt under the ministries of Zerubbabel and Jeshua, aided by the
preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. The exiles that had
returned to Israel during that first wave were either dead or very old
by now. They had settled into the land and, as we will see, in many
cases had begun to blend together with the pagans of the land. The
walls of Jerusalem had not been rebuilt, leaving the city vulnerable
to attack. God raised up Ezra and Nehemiah to bring spiritual reform
to His people.
Both men were born in Babylon and
had close connections with King Artaxerxes. No doubt they both enjoyed
comfortable living conditions there. But both men were burdened with
the low spiritual state of the exiles that had returned to the land.
Both men were willing to give up their comfortable situations in
Babylon and endure the hardship and hassles to bring reform to God’s
people. But how could they accomplish this overwhelming task? The
answer occurs in a phrase that first occurs three times in our
chapter, and then five times in the rest of Ezra and Nehemiah: God’s
hand was on these men (Ezra 7:6, 9, 28; 8:18, 22, 31; Neh 2:8, 18).
God’s hand is another way of saying God’s blessing. God blessed these
two men and their labors for Him. If we want His blessing or hand to
rest on us, we would do well to study their lives. We could add more
factors, but limiting ourselves to Ezra 7, we learn that…
To have God’s hand of blessing on
us, we must study and obey His Word, with a view to teaching others
and glorifying God for everything.
That theme is stated in Ezra 7:10,
which explains why “the good hand of his God was upon him” (7:9): “For
Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice
it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” The
connection between Ezra and God’s Word is repeated no less than eight
times (Ezra 7:6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 21, 25, 26)! There is a definite
correlation between our commitment to know and obey God’s Word and His
hand of blessing being upon us. (The Life
that God Blesses
- if you are not familiar with Pastor Cole's teaching ministry, you might read
some of his excellent expositional sermons which function much like
Had set his heart
head but his heart!)
Had prepared (kuwn) his heart.
(kuwn) means to set up, to make firm, to establish, to prepare. The
primary action of this verb is to cause to stand in an upright position,
and thus kuwn can also mean fixed or steadfast. This same verb is used to
describe God establishing the heavens (Pr 3:19).
The picture of kuwn in the
present context is that of preparing one's heart, in this case to
seek, to study, to receive the Word of Truth. Compare a similar use of
kuwn in the case of Solomon's successor to the throne
of whom the chronicler records...
And he did evil because he did not
set (Kuwn - "prepared not" = KJV) his heart to seek the Lord. (2Chr 12:14)
Kuwn is used one other time in Ezra
chapter 3, and this literal use provides an illustration of the figurative
use in the present passage...
Ezra 3:3 So they set up (kuwn)
the altar on its foundation, for they were terrified because of the
peoples of the lands; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD,
burnt offerings morning and evening.
One could also read the text of Ezra 7:10
as stating that Ezra had ”Set his heart firmly" which gives the
idea that Ezra was inwardly determined or resolutely steadfast. He was
determined and this determination was directed toward studying, obeying,
and teaching God’s Law to others—Mark it down! This pattern while not a
"formula", is to be sure an inviolable order for a Spirit empowered
ministry! You cannot teach with power until you yourself have practiced
(obeyed) what you have studied. Do be otherwise deluded (cp James 1:22-note).
We as NT believers, like the OT
believer Ezra, must continually set (because the flesh, the world and the
devil continually tempt us to "veer off course") our hearts to
seek, do, and teach the Word of God, for no one accidentally becomes a
faithful student of God's Word. We must each make a daily deliberate
decision of our will (continual choosing) to lay aside lesser
things and/or things that hinder us (see Hebrews 12:1-note) in order to seek the best.
I Packer emphasizes the critical need for each of us to prepare
our hearts before we seek God in His Word noting that...
One of the many divine qualities of
the Bible is this: that it does not yield its secrets to the
irreverent and censorious.
Spurgeon issues a similar caveat declaring that...
God sends every bird its food, but He does not throw it into the nest.
One is reminded of Solomon's wise advice concerning godly
wisdom, noting that...
If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures
then you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge
Daniel was without question one of the
greatest of the Old Testament saints (cp Ezekiel 14:14) and was one who
able to live godly in a radically ungodly, idolatrous culture (sound
What was Daniel's secret? Daniel
1 explains that Daniel's secret was the same as Ezra's in that it has to
do with the choices one makes in one's heart. In Daniel chapter 1 we read
the key (in my opinion) to his long godly life in which he repeatedly
experienced the good hand of the LORD upon all of his endeavors...
But Daniel made up
his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food
or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the
commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
Note that Daniel 1:7 begins with
Daniel" which begs the question of what is being contrasted? The previous
section gives the
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the
chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including
some of the royal family and of the nobles, 4 youths in whom was no
defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of
wisdom, endowed with understanding, and discerning knowledge, and who had
ability for serving in the king's court; and he ordered him to teach them
the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for
them a daily ration from the king's choice food and from the wine which he
drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end
of which they were to enter the king's personal service. 6 Now among them
from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 Then
the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel
he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael
Meshach, and to Azariah Abed-nego (Daniel 1:3-7)
Daniel 1 Commentary
So we see that Daniel made a choice
that could have cost him his life. The phrase "made up his mind" is
more literally "placed it upon his heart", where the heart reflects
the "control tower" so to speak of one's life. The
(Greek translation of the Hebrew text)
translated into English reads...
And Daniel himself (reflexive = he
initiated the action and participated in the results) placed it upon
his heart that he would absolutely not (double negative in the
BGT [TH], the strongest way to express negation in Greek) be polluted
(defiled) in the king's banquet...
Isn't life really nothing but a series
of (sometimes hard) "heart choices"? Perhaps
what you are considering is not sinful, but is it God's best? Is it
something that will allow you to redeem the time knowing how precious are
these few years we have on earth in light of our eternity in God's
May God give each of us the grace
that Daniel possessed to assess our "life options" and choose to lay on
our heart those options which are the most God glorifying. In Jesus' Name.
In summary, to set one’s heart is to “direct his
heart constantly towards”.
WHAT IS THE DIRECTION
OF YOUR HEART?
PONDER WHERE IT WILL TAKE YOU
IN THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES...
Scripture has a number of passages that
use the identical phrase (same verb and noun in Hebrew) of directing
Then Samuel spoke to all the house of
Israel, saying, "If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the
foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts
to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand
(paraphrase = "from the power") of the Philistines." (1Samuel 7:3,4) (What
is the promise?...Man's responsibility? Note the verbs - return...
remove... direct... deliver)
(David's prayer for Israel and his son
Solomon) O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (he is making his
appeal based on the
our fathers, preserve this forever in the intentions of the heart of Thy
people, and direct their heart to Thee (see 2 Chr 20:3
below) and give to my son Solomon a perfect heart to keep Thy
commandments, Thy testimonies, and Thy statutes, and to do them all, and
to build the temple, for which I have made provision." (1 Chronicles
And he (King
Rehoboam) did evil because
he did not set his heart (Hebrew word here is not lebab but
related noun leb -
03820) to seek the LORD. (2 Chronicles
12:14) (Why did he do evil? What do we have to do before we can truly
"seek God"? Dear God, deliver us from this subtle trap in our own lives -
let it be not our way, but Thine. Amen)
the prophet speaking and
denouncing the king) But there is some good in you (King
Jehoshaphat), for you have
removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart
to seek God." 4 So Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem and went out again
among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and brought
them back to the LORD, the God of their fathers. (2Chronicles 19:3, 4)
The high places, however, were not
removed; the people had not yet directed their hearts to the
God of their fathers. (2Chronicles 20:33)
Comment: 2 Chronicles 17:6 says
removed the high places and Asherim from Judah, but this verse indicates
that apparently the people of Israel had otherwise resisted Jehoshaphat's
(Speaking of the generation to come,
Asaph says they should be taught to remember and obey God) And not be like
their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did
not prepare its heart, and whose spirit was not faithful to
God. (Psalm 78:8)
Comment: Note how unfaithfulness
to God parallels not preparing one's heart!
Spurgeon adds... "They had no
decision for righteousness and truth. In them there was no preparedness,
or willingness of heart, to entertain the Saviour; neither judgments, nor
mercies could bind their affections to their God; they were fickle as the
winds, and changeful as the waves." (Ref)
Here are some other excellent cross
references related to setting one's heart. If you have time study
to see implications of preparing one's
2Chronicles 11:16, 30:19, Job 11:13,
Psalms 10:17, 57:7, 62:10, 78:8, 37, 108:1, 112:7,8, 1Corinthians 15:58,
Ezra's heart was undoubtedly prepared
to receive the Word implanted by confession of his sins for it is impossible to study the Scriptures profitably with an impure mind.
Therefore putting aside (decisively
casting off sins as one would a filthy, odoriferous garment!) all
filthiness (Greek rhuparia from rhupos = wax in one's ear!) and all that
remains of wickedness, in humility receive (accept deliberately and
readily, receive kindly, as one would put out a welcome mat for guests!)
the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. (see James 1:21-note)
Comment: While this "salvation"
could refer to our initial salvation (justified or declared righteous by
faith), it could also refer to our daily salvation (progressive
sanctification) of which all believers stand in continual need.
Therefore, putting aside (casting these
off like a "dirty, filthy" garment) all malice and
all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander (note the "all's"
- 1Jn 1:9 says when we confess God cleanses us from all
unrighteousness!), like newborn babes, long
for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to
salvation (See 1Pe 2:1-note;
Sin will keep you from the Bible or
The Bible will keep you from sin.
The phrase set his heart conveys
the idea of being firmly committed to a particular course of action with
unwavering steadfastness. The verb signifies being “established, prepared,
fixed” in a determined pursuit. The same root word is used to
portray God’s establishment of the heavens (Pr 3:19;
8:27). Thus the expression carries the idea of a determined purpose and
unwavering resolution to act in a prescribed way to bring something to
To paraphrase this verse in modern
terms Ezra's heart...
was zeroed in on the primary goal of
studying God’s Word.
The more you read it, the more you love it;
The more you love
it, the more you read it.
In Psalm 1 guarding ourselves
from wickedness (not walking, standing or sitting) precedes delighting
in the Word which leads to meditating on the Word. (See exposition
of Psalm 1:1-note;
Ps 1:3-note) And the more we
meditate on it, tasting and seeing that the Lord is good, the more we
delight in it, etc.
kardia - see word study) refers not
only to his
intellect per se only but in Hebrew speaks of that which rules
one's very being, the very center of human life -- the seat of affections,
emotions, desires. The heart,
in which Ezra purposed to study the Scriptures connotes “the totality of
man’s inner or immaterial nature”
Ezra, or anyone who would follow his
example, would direct the core of their being constantly toward the task
of studying and pouring over the Scriptures. But to say that this function
was Ezra's “ministry” would be missing emphasis of Ezra 7:10. More to the
point, one might say that the study of the Scriptures was his life—his
all-consuming passion. Little else commanded his attention like the task
that God had set before him. Ezra gave his best effort to study, practice,
and teach God’s law, each activity being observed completely and in order.
At this point, we must each do personal inventory and ask -
Do I truly give God my best efforts
in this area? If we "stop"
up the fountain, the source of life in His living and active word, we
short circuit the Spirit's power in our life and ministry. Being "anemic"
ourselves, we have little power and passion to pass on to those we are
called to disciple.
I remember reading about John
MacArthur's interview (my details may not be completely accurate) to take
the lead pastor position at Grace Community Church. As I recall the story,
he said that he would take the position on the condition (what I would
call an "Ezra 7:10" condition) that the church would guarantee that he had
30 hours of uninterrupted study time during the week in which he could
on the Word so that he would have truth from God to
bring to the congregation on Sunday. Let me ask you...Has the good hand
of the LORD been upon Dr John MacArthur's ministry? I think the
evidence speaks for itself. I love the heading on his website -
"Unleashing God's truth one verse at
A similar story could surely be told
about another well known American pastor, Dr John Piper, a
mighty expositor of God's Word, one who has diligently practiced the Ezra
7:10 principle and as a result has clearly experienced the good hand of
the LORD on his ministry. May Dr MacArthur's and Dr Piper's tribe
In summary, both Dr MacArthur and Dr
Piper have "bought in" (in my opinion) to the "Ezra 7:10" principle of
church growth, feeding their sheep pure milk (see 1Pe 2:2-note)
and solid food (see Hebrews 5:14-note)
and thereby growing their flocks mightily in the grace and knowledge of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory to God in the highest!
With such God glorifying results
promised to those who practice the "Ezra 7:10 principle", why do we see so
few "Ezras" in the pulpits across America today?
I do not know the answer but I feel that part of that answer is that many
don't truly believe Luke 1:37 which the ASV renders as...
No word from God shall be void of
In this Luke passage, the Greek word
for "no" is the strongest word for no that Luke could have used --
absolutely no Word of God is impotent! Do we really believe this is
true? Do we really believe that diligent study, practice and teaching of
the eternal, inherently powerful word will unleash the power of God's hand
upon us, upon our ministry and upon those we pastor? If this is your
desire, perhaps you need to reorder priorities if you are the lead pastor
or teacher. Perhaps you need to go to the elders and request a block of
absolutely, immutably uninterrupted time during the week in order to begin
to apply the "Ezra 7:10 principle". If you should be one of those
who does make this decision, your church will never be the same as it
begins to experience the reality of the supernatural reality of the
good hand of the LORD upon it's various ministries.
Revive your shepherds, O LORD,
According to Thy word. Amen.
(based on Ps 119:25)
Now, let us return to the study of our
passage and reiterate that the Hebrew word for heart represents
the center or middle of something, and can indeed refer to the physical heart,
organ which pumps blood to supplies life for the entire body. Of the some 850
uses of heart (lebab) in the Old Testament, the most
common meaning is figurative and signifies a person’s inner
being including one's mind, emotions, will, etc. Thus the heart denotes the
intellect, by which one thinks, analyzes, compares, and understands a
matter (1Kings 3:12; 2Kings 5:26; 2Chr 9:23; Pr 11:12; 16:23),
the emotions, or the deepest innermost feelings of a person (Pr 17:22,
25:20); and the volition, the seat of the will where choices are made
(Nu 16:28; Judges. 9:3; 2Chr 12:14). When Ezra set his heart to
study the Word, the study of Scripture absolutely consumed his life. And
even as a healthy physical heart is vital to one's overall physical
health, so too the spiritual condition of our heart affects the vitality
of our entire being. Little wonder that Scripture is replete with
encouragements and admonitions that relate to our spiritual heart,
one of my favorites being...
(Hebrew verb here is a command - it is "imperative" that we continually stand guard on the
watchtower; the Greek Lxx uses
tereo [see word study]
= this command which speaks of
our continual need to keep our eye upon the citadel of our heart, guarding
over it in order to protect it from the variegated noxious agents
which the world, the flesh and/or the devil would seek to attack us with) over your heart with all diligence (Solomon uses a word
related to that which describes a prison guard keeping watch over a
prisoner in a cell), (why?) for from it flow the springs of life (Life is
the ability to exercise all one's vital power to the fullest; death is the
opposite - Jesus said from our "innermost being shall flow rivers of
living water" speaking of the Spirit Who gives life, cp John 7:38, 39,
6:63. A short, but pithy paraphrase would be "Keep your "river" from being polluted!").
The New Living paraphrase
accurately conveys the thrust of this Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for
it affects everything you do."
Just as the physical heart must be in
good shape for our body to be healthy, so too must our spiritual heart be
in good condition for optimum functioning in the spiritual realm. When the
Spirit of God measures the ''worth'' of a man's life He puts the measuring
tape around his heart, not around his head. Be a man after God's Own
heart (cp the heart of David, Acts 13:22, not a perfect man but one who
offered God a "broken and a contrite heart", Ps 51:17 - "A heart
crushed is a fragrant heart. Men contemn those who are contemptible in
their own eyes, but the Lord seeth not as man seeth. He despises what men
esteem, and values that which they despise. Never yet has God spurned a
lowly, weeping penitent, and never will he while God is love, and while
Jesus is called the man who receiveth sinners. Bullocks and rams he
desires not, but contrite hearts he seeks after; yea, but one of them is
better to him than all the varied offerings of the old Jewish sanctuary."
Matthew Henry commenting on
Proverbs 4:23 wrote that "We must keep a watchful eye and a
strict hand upon all the motions of our inward man. ... God, who gave us
these souls, gave us a strict charge with them. We must set a strict
guard, accordingly, upon all the avenues of the soul; keep our hearts from
doing hurt and getting hurt, from being defiled by sin and disturbed by
trouble; keep out bad thoughts; keep up good thoughts; keep the affections
upon right objects and in due bounds.
If we would "keep" our hearts "with all
diligence", we wouldn't be careless, for example, about what gets into our
hearts through the "eye-gate". We'd "censor" our own television viewing
out of a greater concern to "watch" our own heart. And we'd even be
willing to get rid of our television if it's affecting us negatively. We
would rid our homes of any visual images or literature that incline us
toward sexual immorality or sin of any kind. We'd not only guard
what might come in; but also what might come out. We would keep our own
attitudes in check, so that the words that come out of our mouths aren't
reflective of evil in our heart. We'll be like David, when he prayed
(Psalm 141:3 -
O child of God, guard well your eyes
From anything that stains the heart;
Forsake those things that soil the mind--
Your Father wants you set apart. --Fasick
If you effectively protect your car
from theft, your home from burglary, your property from damage, your
financial interests from failure, and your body from personal illness and
injury, and even our borders from terrorist attacks - and yet fail in
protecting this one, all-important thing as the Bible warns us - that
singular failure will effect all other areas of life.
The heart of man is the worst
part of his being before his conversion, and the best afterwards. It is
the fountain of all his actions. The eye of God is always fixed on the
heart. And believers should be carefully watchful of their hearts.
Christianity is a religion of the heart. It is not a system of moral
conduct. It is the life of Christ in a man's soul. Salvation is the work
of God in a man's heart. The conviction of sin, repentance, faith, and,
worship are all works of the heart. The kingdom of God is not in meat and
drink, things of the body; but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the
Holy Spirit. These are things of the heart. There is no responsibility
placed upon the shoulders of a believer of greater importance than the
keeping and proper government of his heart in all conditions, by faith in
Christ the Lord. If we truly learn to guard our hearts, this
practice will bring the beauty of holiness into our lives, and sweeten our
spirits with the grace of heaven. (see
here for more detail on "the heart")
John Flavel wisely observed that
"The greatest difficulty in conversion
is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion
is to keep the heart with God."
John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's
Progress, like Ezra was consumed with the study of God’s
Word. C H Spurgeon read Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress every year on
one occasion remarking that "He had studied our Authorized Version... till his
whole being was saturated with Scripture; and through his writings... he …
[makes] us feel and say ‘Why, this man is living Bible! Prick him
anywhere; and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of
the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his
soul is full of the Word of God.’
Ralph Davies - Note the initial
ki (for, because) in the Hebrew text. It explains why the good hand
of his God was upon him (Ezra 7:9). God prospered the venture because of
Ezra's purpose. This then is a warning against sloth and carelessness, and
a sloppy view of grace. The subject comes before the verb in the Hebrew
text, so there is some stress on "Ezra." On "setting the heart," the
Hiphil of kun plus leb, see Psalm 78:8; 2 Chronicles 12:14 20:33(all
negative); and 1 Samuel 7:3; 2 Chronicles 19:3; 30:19. The language of
verse 10 speaks of a ministry that is focused in its objective (set his
heart) and intense in its labor (to seek). It is both anchored and
vigorous, not content with a little ministerial piddling. Note that Ezra
purposes a total ministry: seek, do, teach; the cognitive, the
experiential, and the didactic. Note that there are both academic and
existential qualifications before teaching. The process, ever repeated,
is: concentration (seek), consistency (do), communication (teach). (Ezra-Nehemiah,
If a Christian is careless in Bible reading,
He will care less about
TO STUDY THE LAW OF THE LORD:
(Ezra 7:6; Psalms 1:2; Ps 19:7; 119:45,96, 87, 98, 99, 100)
See Related Topics:
Inductive Bible study
Observation of the Word of God
Interpretation of the Word of God
KJV = seek, a word which conveys
the idea of searching for what is lost (cp "paradise lost"), in context
describing man's quest for God and what can only be obtained from Him.
Seeking necessitates diligent effort in order to obtain. In regard to the
Scripture the goals are to obtain the truth about God and the truth about
man and then walk in light of that truth as Ezra did.
I'm not sure if R A Torrey's
percentages are correct but there is still some convicting truth in his
Ninety-nine Christians in every
hundred are merely playing at Bible study; and therefore ninety-nine
Christians in every hundred are merely weaklings when they might be
J. I. Packer is surely
correct when says that...
If I were the devil, one of my
first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible.
Alan Redpath (past pastor at
Moody Bible Church) once advised believers to "wreck" their Bible
every 10 years! Do you use your Bible every day until it eventually falls
Give me the insight, Lord,
As I read Your Word today,
So I will truly understand
Your message and Your way.
Francis Bacon said...
Let no man think or maintain that a
man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God's
word or in the book of God's works. (Amen!)
Christian author Jerry Bridges
As we search the Scriptures, we
must allow them to search us, to sit in judgement upon our character
A W Pink
speaking of the work of Bible Study wrote that...
No verse of Scripture yields its
meaning to lazy people.
Bob Smith in his practical
Basics of Bible Interpretation
God wants everyone to be able to
understand the Bible, for its message is essentially how we can have
and enjoy the greatest kind of life, free from the futility of
pointlessness, free from the limitations of our human, earthly thought
patterns, free from the fear of death and dying. Not everyone
understands it this way. In fact, many are so convinced they can't
understand the Bible that they never give it a second look. It's
strange how we will study most any other subject with diligence only
to have the acquired knowledge perish with us. But the words of the
Bible are words of life!
Scripture's precious store
As a miner digs for ore;
Search, and you will surely find
Treasures to enrich your mind.
Study (01875) (darash) means
to seek with care, to inquire,
to pursue or to search, each of these verbs giving us a
good picture of how Ezra approached the law of the LORD.
Darash is used to describe Moses
when he went "to inquire (Lxx =
of God" (Ex 18:15). David said "I sought (Lxx =
the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." (Ps
Deuteronomy 12 darash presents a striking contrast between
seeking Jehovah (Dt 12:5) or inquiring after the gods of the
land (Dt 12:30) which would result in Israel becoming ensnared and
enslaved even asking 'How do these nations serve their gods?" (Dt 12:30)
What you seek after will be what you serve. Seek Jehovah that you might be
bound to Him as your Master!
Darash is also used of divine
vengeance on those who take a life and so we see that God will diligently
seek restitution of a life for a life Moses (uses darash 3x and Lxx
translates each with the verb
- where it carries the sense of "to look for in expectation of fixing
blame" [BDAG] or charging someone with a charge as in Lk 11:50-51)
recording "“And surely I will require your lifeblood; from every
beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s
brother I will require the life of man." (Ge 9:5)
uses the verb
(see Mt 6:33-note)
which conveys the idea of attempting to learn something by careful
investigation or searching (cf Pr 2:1-5).
In David's initial encounter with
Bathsheba we find an interesting use of darash that helps give us a sense
of what it means to "study" something "So David sent and inquired
(darash) about the woman (Woe! Not good David!). And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the
daughter of Eliam, the wife
of Uriah the Hittite?" (2Sa 11:3) Perhaps if David had been actively
seeking or inquiring of the Word of the LORD (performing "preventive
maintenance"), it is doubtful he would have been inquiring about
Bathsheba. In fact one of the clear instructions for kings was to write
out a copy of the law and "read it all the days of his life, that he may
learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of
this law and these statutes." In sum, if David had sought the LORD in His
Word, he would have had a healthy fear of the LORD, which is a strong
motivator to turn away from evil (cp Job 1:1, Pr 14:27 Ne 5:15 Job 28:28
Ps 34:11-14 2Co 7:1)!
for example this word was used when
Moses “searched carefully” to find out what happened to the sin offering
or when David “inquired” to find out who Bathsheba was (2Samuel 11:3).
Ezra studied the Word by carefully searching it (compare the Bereans in
Acts 17:11-notes), investigating its
truths, probing its parts, surveying its whole (see
observation), striving to understand its
Interpretation), being concerned to grasp its message, leaving no stone unturned.
Ezra was not content to skim the surface and gain a superficial knowledge of
Baker on darash -
Figuratively, it may refer to seeking out or inquiring about lovers (Jer.
30:14) or to care for Zion (Jer. 30:17). It denotes inquiring about
persons (2Sam. 11:3) or their welfare (souls)(Ps. 142:4). It indicates the
Lord's care for His land (Deut. 11:12). It carries the general sense of
seeking out property, such as a lost ox or cattle (Deut. 22:2), or
examining a matter (Deut. 13:14; Judg. 6:29; 1 Ki. 22:7) or event. It
takes on the meaning of requiring or demanding someone's blood in a moral
or legal sense (Gen. 9:5; 2 Chr. 24:22; Ps. 10:13) but also of seeking
good itself (Amos 5:14).Its most important theological meaning involves
studying or inquiring into the Law of the Lord (Ezra 7:10) or inquiring of
God (Gen. 25:22; Ex. 18:15; Deut. 12:5; 1 Ki. 22:5; 2 Ki. 3:11). God's
people seek after their God (Deut. 4:29; Hos. 10:12; Amos 5:4). Seeking
the Lord will be greatly rewarded (Ps. 34:10). Seeking heathen gods or
persons who deal with the dead is to be avoided (1 Sam. 28:7; Isa. 8:19;
Ezek. 14:10). The works of God, however, are to be examined and studied
(Ps. 111:2). (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)
Darash - 152 verses in NAS -
Click here for all uses
NAS translates darash as = ask(1), avenge(1),
calls(1), care(1), cares(3), comes the reckoning(1), consult(2), consulted
by them at all(1), demand(1), inquire(33), inquired(5), inquirer(1),
investigate(3), investigated(1), looks(2), making inquiry(1),
questioned(1), require(7), required(1), requires(1), resort(3), search(6),
searched(1), searched carefully(1), searches(2), seek(53), seek after(1),
seeking(2), seeks(3), sought(18), studied(1), study(1), surely require(1).
German theologian Johann Bengel
(1687-1752) aptly described Ezra (and his kind) as "like a maker of a well who brings
no water to his source but allows the water he finds there to flow freely
without stoppage, diversion, or defilement."
In his studies of the Scriptures, Ezra
undoubtedly followed Thomas Watson's exhortation to "Leave not off reading the Bible till
you find your hearts warmed. Let it not only inform you but inflame you."
Regarding the pastor's (and all
believers') need to focus on
the pure milk of the Word, Puritan Richard Baxter explained how
this truth finally dawned on him writing that "Till at last, being by my sickness cast
far from home, where I had no book but my Bible, I set to study the truth
from thence, and so, by the blessing of God, discovered more in one week
than I had done before in seventeen years’ reading, hearing, and
The Complete Biblical Library
Hebrew-English Dictionary - Dārash occurs over one hundred fifty times
and generally means "to seek" or "to inquire." In Lev. 10:16 the meaning
is more intensive. Paired with a modifier, the term describes how Moses
seeks to find out in detail what happened to the sin offering, and in 2
Sam. 11:3 when David sought to find out who Bathsheba was. It also occurs
in Jer. 29:7 when the exiles are told to seek the peace and prosperity of
the city in which they have been exiled. It is used negatively in Deut.
23:6. Moses told the people to seek a treaty with the Ammonites or
Moabites. Israel was told to seek carefully the place God would choose for
sacrifices (Deut. 12:5) and justice (Isa. 1:17). In the end, Jerusalem,
the place no one seeks (Jer. 30:17), will be the place "sought out" (Isa.
An important theological theme can be demonstrated
around the idea of "seeking," "consulting" or "inquiring" of God. In Gen.
25:22, Rebekah inquired of the Lord; in Exo. 18:15, Moses told Jethro that
the people came to him to seek God's will; in 1 Ki. 22:8, Ahab told
Jehoshaphat that they may inquire of the Lord through Micaiah. There are
also times when the people "inquired" of something else. In 1 Chr. 13:3,
David told the people they needed to bring back the Ark of the Lord,
because they did not inquire of it in the past. In 1 Ki. 22:5, Jehoshaphat
tells Ahab to inquire of the word of the Lord. In Isa. 34:16, instruction
is given to inquire of the book of the Lord.
The idea of seeking heathen gods and prophets is also
developed with this word in Ezek. 14:10 which says punishment will come to
those who seek false prophets. In 1 Sam. 28:7, Saul desired to inquire of
a medium. In 1 Chr. 10:13, one of the reasons for Saul's death is
attributed to his seeking counsel of a medium.
The idea of "seeking" God is also developed through the
use of dārash (Deut. 4:29). In fact, the chronicler evaluated the history
of Israel in terms of their seeking God (1 Chr. 22:19; 28:9; 2 Chr. 31:21)
or idols (2 Chr. 25:15). Isaiah reported Israel's refusal to seek God in
spite of divine chastening (Isa. 9:13). Israel was instructed to seek the
Lord (Isa. 55:6; Jer. 29:13; Hos. 10:12), but it is the Gentiles who would
seek out the messianic King (Isa. 11:10). The people of Israel are
reproved for "seeking" Him while continuing in their sins (Isa. 58:2), but
are promised blessings if they genuinely seek him (Isa. 65:10).
A person may also seek God through prayer and worship. In
Deut. 4:29, the people were told that they would find God if they sought
Him with all their heart. In Hos. 10:12 the prophet stated that it was
time to seek the Lord. Amos 5:4, 6 says that those who seek the Lord shall
Theologically, dārash is also used of divine vengeance on
those who take a life. God will seek restitution of a life for a life
(Gen. 9:5; 2 Chr. 24:22, 24). The verb is also used in more common ways.
In Deut. 22:2, it refers to "looking for" sheep. The Lord "looks for" his
sheep (Ezek. 34:6, 8, 11). The Lord searches out men's hearts (1 Chr.
28:9). Various matters may be inquired about: a miraculous sign (2 Chr.
32:31) and sin (Job 10:6).
John Piper wisely warns all who
proclaim God's Word that...
We must beware of the temptation to
replace the study of Scripture with the reading of good books about the
Scripture. If you want to know if a man has studied well, don’t ask him to
show you his library. Ask him to show you his personal notebooks where he
has recorded his own authentic insights into the Word of God.
We make a great mistake when we think
that study consists mainly in reading (as commonly understood)—even
reading the Bible. Many think they have studied well when they have spent
the morning reading through some worthy book of divinity. And thus the
measure of our study becomes the number of books that we have read.
But my own conviction is that fruitful
study is primarily thinking not reading. My guess is that reading, which
was meant to become a stimulus and guide to independent thinking, usually
becomes a substitute for it. The evidence for this is how many books we
read and how little we write down. Fresh thinking must always be put down
on paper to get it clear and preserve it for use. Much reading and little
thinking makes for a second-hand pastor. And it is not easy to preach and
teach second-hand truths with power.
The ministry of the Word is a ministry
of study. And the ministry of study should be devoted primarily to the
Bible. And the study of the Bible should consist very much in thinking and
writing about what it says.
In another writing Piper says...
If we are going to feed our people, we
must ever advance in our grasp of Biblical truth. We must be like
Jonathan Edwards who resolved in his college days, and kept the
resolution all his life,
Resolved: To study the
Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find,
and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
(The seventy resolutions of the young Edwards are found in Sereno Dwight,
Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 1
Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1974, xx–xxi. This is resolution 28
from page xxi.)
J. Brothers, we are not professionals : A plea to pastors for radical
The Law of the LORD - The Law of
Jehovah (see study of this great
Name of God).
The Law (08451)
(torah) means basically "teaching" and in simple terms represent
God's instructions to His people regarding how they should live,
especially how they should live in covenant with a holy God. The torah was
to saturate one's total way of life, permeating every decision, every
thought, etc. The torah was given to make known the way men should walk or
conduct their lives.
Ezra's "Bible" would have been
the first five books (the
and the Book of Joshua, which was in existence in his day.
God, motivated by love, reveals to man
basic insights into how to live with each other and how to approach God.
Through the law God shows His interest in all aspects of man's life which
is to be lived under His direction and care. The Law of God stands
parallel to Word of the Lord to signify that law is the revelation of
God's will. In this capacity the Law became the nation of Israel's wisdom
and understanding so that the pagans would marvel at the quality of
Israel's distinctive life style (cp Deut 4:6).
The psalmist's attitude toward the Law
in Psalm 119:97 surely reflected Ezra's heart attitude...
O how I love Thy law!
It is my meditation all the day.
He loves so much that he must express
his love, and in making the attempt he perceives that it is inexpressible.
We obey the law out of love, and even when it chides us for disobedience
we love it none the less. It is my meditation all the day. He meditated on
God’s Word because he loved it, and then loved it the more because he
meditated in it. In his worldly business he still kept his mind saturated
with the law of the Lord. Familiarity with the Word of God breeds
affection, and affection seeks yet greater familiarity. When thy law and
my meditation are together all the day, the day grows holy, devout, and
happy, and the heart lives with God. (See
Spurgeon's complete note)
(See related topics -
Primer of Biblical Meditation
Quiet Musing by Spurgeon)
Amy Carmichael gives us a good
caution for our day when more Christian books are being published then at
any other time in the history of the world...
Never let good books take the place of
the Bible. Drink from the Well, not from the streams that flow from the
Well. (Amen and amen!)
Martin Luther wrote that...
When I was young, I read the Bible over
and over and over again, and was so perfectly acquainted with it, that I
could, in an instant, have pointed to any verse that might have been
Luther also wrote
For a number of years I have now
annually read through the Bible twice. If the Bible were a large, mighty
tree and all its words were little branches, I have tapped at all the
branches, eager to know what was there and what it had to offer.
Luther is reported to have said
concerning his own study of the Scriptures that...
I study my Bible as I gather apples.
First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest might fall. Then I shake
each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every
twig. Then I look under every leaf. I shake the Bible as a whole, like
shaking the whole tree. Then I shake every limb—study book after book.
Then I shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters when they do
not break the sense. Then I shake every twig, or a careful study of the
paragraphs and sentences and words and their meanings. (Ed:
Sounds like he practiced the discipline of inductive Bible study).
John Piper writes,
At the heart of every pastor’s work is
bookwork. Call it reading, meditation, reflection, cogitation, study,
exegesis, or whatever you will—a large and central part of our work is to
wrestle God’s meaning from a book, and then to proclaim it in the power of
the Holy Spirit.
The best thing to do with the Bible is
to know it in the head, stow it in the heart, sow it in the world, and
show it in the life.
AND TO PRACTICE IT:
(Deuteronomy 16:12; Matthew 5:19-note;
John 13:17; Revelation 22:14
(cp 1Timothy 4:12-note,
1Timothy 4:16; Titus 2:7
In John Jesus emphasizes the importance
of applying truth received and the result of such application...
If you know these things, you are
blessed if you do them. (John 7:24)
In Matthew Jesus again emphasizes the
importance of obedient application declaring that...
everyone who hears these words
of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who
built his house upon the rock. (see note
James wrote of the deception of
hearing but not doing and the blessing of seeing and doing...
imperative = command
to make this your habitual practice - when you hear truth obey it without
delay for delay is disobedience) yourselves doers (poietes - performers
but like those who are actors for that would define a hypocrite) of the
word, and not merely hearers (Greek word = hose who sat passively in an
audience and listened to a singer or speaker - like one who audits a
college class, but which they are not required to do outside study, etc
and are not held accountable for what they hear) who delude (fascinating
word - paralogizomai from para = beside + logizomai = reason - means to
reason besides oneself - and so to betray oneself by false reasoning)
themselves. (see note
But (note the striking contrast
- for context read v23-24) one who looks intently at the perfect law, the
law of liberty (Liberty is not the right to do as you please, but the
power [grace] to do as you should!), and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but
an effectual doer (poietes - same word as v22 - a genuine performer of the
Word), this man shall be blessed (fully satisfied independent of
the circumstances) in what he does (which was the
testimony of Ezra). (see note
See related topic:
Application of the Word of God
Study the Bible to be wise
to be safe
Practise it to be holy
1 Ti 4:16
Pay close attention
imperative = command
to continually paying attention!) to
yourself and to your teaching;
imperative = command
to continually paying attention!) in these things; for as you do
this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear
Apply yourself to the Scriptures
The Scriptures to yourself.
Will H. Houghton espoused
the Ezra 7:10 approach, encouraging each of us to...
Lay hold on the Bible
until the Bible lays
hold on (us).
- The Hebrew
word for “practice” carries the idea of expending energy in the pursuit of
something. Live it
out. Let the "rubber meet the road". Put shoe leather to the
Scriptural truth taken into your heart. Unhesitatingly obey the truth learned.
And remember that
like a compass, the Bible always points you in the right direction.
We see this pattern of studying
leading to practice in other
passages, for example in the Pentateuch (of which Ezra was well versed)
Assemble the people, the men and the
women and children and the alien who is in your town, in order that they
may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe
all the words of this law. (Deut 31:12) In other words...
Hear the word
Learn the word
Fear the LORD
Practice the Word
In the well known passage in Joshua
God instructs His young servant leader...
This book of the law shall not depart
from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night (STUDY),
so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it (PRACTICE);
for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success
(EXPERIENCE THE GOOD HAND OF THE LORD!). (Joshua 1:8)
Bible study for Ezra was not
merely an intellectual discipline (cp the Pharisee in Jesus' day) but had
the goals of life change and discipleship. If our Bible study only makes
us smarter sinners, then we are studying for the wrong reason. Our motive
should always be to study in such a way that we are transformed from glory
to glory, progressively being conformed to the image of our Savior.
A good leader is one who...Knows the way, Goes the way,
and Shows the way. Knowing without doing is arrogance not
A good pattern for ministry -- learn
it, live it, and let it out.
How interesting to hear the "wisdom" of
one of the secular world's esteemed "scribes", George Bernard Shaw,
who once said...
He who can, does. He who cannot
Shaw clearly did not know about the
life of the esteemed Jewish scribe Ezra and why he had experienced the
good hand of God!
In his article in Master's Seminary
Journal (volume 2), Richard Mayhue adds that...
When each phase of Ezra’s example is
kept completely and ordered correctly, following his threefold commitment
will prevent many expositional shortcomings: “Study is saved from
unreality, conduct from uncertainty, and teaching from insincerity and
shallowness.” [Quoted from Derek Kidner, Ezra and Nehemiah (Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1979) 62]
Lawson writes that...
Ezra mastered the Word, but more
importantly the Word
mastered him. And so his careful study led to a holy life. His personal integrity
became the platform from which he carried out his public teaching
ministry. What Ezra learned in the Scriptures, he lived out in his daily
Pattern of Biblical Preaching BSac 158:632 Oct 01 p. 461)
Of great significance is the fact that
Ezra’s reading and exposition was used by God to catalyze a revival. Why? Well, one reason
surely was because the good hand of the LORD was upon him!
Ezra obeyed the Word with the same
“heart” devotion with which he studied it. In striking contrast were the scribes in
Jesus’ day who sought to follow the Law from the head but not from the heart. With full
heads but empty hearts, they attempted to teach the Word, but Jesus saw
their hearts and declared
This people honors Me with their lips,
but their heart is far away from Me (Mt 15:8).
Ezra, however, was a scribe who
wholeheartedly kept the Word, not with mere external ritual or empty
routine like the scribes and Pharisees, but from his heart.
Moody rightly said that...
God did not give us the Scriptures to
increase our knowledge but to change our lives
Tozer was even more blunt
Theological truth is useless until it
is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action.
Thomas Adams had a picturesque
description writing that...
True obedience has no lead at its
Thomas Brooks wrote
No man obeys God truly who does not
endeavor to obey God fully.
Lorne Sanny rightly said that...
Luke summarizes his Gospel this way:
"In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do
and to teach" (Acts 1:1, emphasis mine). Jesus' deeds matched His words
and His words matched His deeds. Often His teaching was merely the
explanation of a deed. Doing preceded teaching.
When the apostles returned from a ministry trip, they reported "all they
had done and taught" (Mark 6:30, emphasis mine).
We who speak and teach must be careful. We are asked to speak on a topic,
but that topic has not been part of our doing. So we gather Bible verses
and quotes from books, and our message becomes book-born, not life-born.
Ezra prepared his heart "to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to
teach" (Ezra 7:10, NKJV). To go straight from the study to the platform
without the theme having gone through our lives is perilous—for us and for
E. Stanley Jones wrote concerning teaching that is divorced from doing:
The Word doesn't take shoes and walk,
it takes wings and flies, over their heads. It is transcendental, but not
transforming. It is geared into ideas, but not into life. Hence those
interested in living pass it by.
Paul's response on the Damascus road was not, "What shall I preach on,
Lord?" but rather, "What shall I do, Lord?" The doing would then
authenticate his preaching.
All good teaching and preaching is essentially testimony—not of what we've
done for God, but of what God has done for us when we've obeyed Him. To
preach only what you practice limits the range, but it does increase the
power (see note
1Thessalonians 1:5). (Discipleship Journal)
Lawson sums up Ezra's obedience
writing that "The one who brings the Word must bow
first before the Word and fully keep it. Selective obedience is no
obedience. Partial obedience is nothing more than disguised disobedience.
To be compelling in the pulpit, preachers must be complete in obedience.
The Pattern of Biblical Preaching BSac 158:632 Oct
01 p. 461)
Chuck Smith EZRA 7:6, 9, 10, 28
"THE GOOD HAND OF THE LORD"
I. THE NEED FOR THE HAND OF GOD ON OUR LIVES.
A. Favor with God brings favor with man. Ezra 7:6.
1. Life moves on two planes, vertical and horizontal.
a. The vertical is the axis upon which our lives revolve, thus more
b. If the center of my life is out of kilter the circumference is bound to
c. So many today think their greatest problem is human relations.
1. It is divine relations.
d. We try to balance our lives from the outside in.
e. My relation with God must have top priority.
1. "Seek ye first."
B. The good hand of God brings us to our desired goals. Ezra 7:9
1. Man has two basic goals: satisfaction and joy.
a. Someone says, "I'm seeking success."
b. If you attain it you will be disappointed, it will not bring you what
you thought it would.
1. You thought it would bring satisfaction.
2. Neither can be attained apart from God.
a. You can find happiness, elation. (Just scored winning touchdown.
b. Solomon's vain pursuit for satisfaction.
C. God's hand means strength. Ezra 7:28.
1. In many trials it was only His hand that sustained me.
a. My strength and resources were gone.
2. Joseph's bow abode in strength.
3. Have you ever been in a place of distress and fear? You wonder, "What
can I do?" Then suddenly feel the presence of God.
a. The tension and strain leaves and a beautiful peace and confidence
Il. HOW TO EXPERIENCE THE HAND OF GOD ON YOUR LIFE.
A. The Lord is with you if you'll be with Him, and if you seek Him.
1. We must come to God and ask Him.
a. God comes to you only by invitation.
b. He will not intrude uninvited
B. Ezra prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord Ezra 7:10.
1. Our hearts are prepared through quiet times of study.
a. The Word of God prepares my heart for the work of God.
2. Quiet times of prayer prepare me for the work of God has for me to do.
C. Take time out for your busy lives to cultivate and develop your
relationship with God.
1. Quiet time while you wait on Him will be the best spent time of the
whole day. (Sermon
Warning: Bible study
can be habit-forming. Putting the principles into practice can cause loss of anxiety, decreased appetite for
lying, cheating, stealing, hating and "symptoms" of growing sensations of love,
peace, joy, compassion.
Mom's Translation - Four pastors
were discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible. One
liked a particular version best because of its simple, beautiful English.
Another preferred a more scholarly edition because it was closer to the
original Hebrew and Greek. Still another liked a contemporary version
because of its up-to-date vocabulary.
The fourth minister was silent for a moment, then said, "I like my
mother's translation best." Surprised, the other three men said they
didn't know his mother had translated the Bible. "Yes," he replied. "She
translated it into life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever
Instead of discussing translation preferences, this pastor reminded them
that the most important focus should be learning God's Word and doing it.
That was the top priority of Ezra's life. As a scribe, he studied the Law,
obeyed it, and taught it to the Israelites (Ezra 7:10). For example, God
commanded His people not to intermarry with neighboring nations who served
pagan gods (Ezra 9:1-2). Ezra confessed the nation's sin to God (Ezra
9:10-12) and corrected the people, who then repented (Ezra 10:10-12).
Let's follow Ezra's example by seeking the Word of God and translating it
into life. —Anne Cetas (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
When we take time to read God's Word,
Our heart is filled with pleasure;
So let's relate the truth we've heard-
With others share the treasure. -Hess
The best commentary on the Bible
is a person who puts it into practice.
had it right when he said that..
The Bible was not written to satisfy
your curiosity, but to make you conform to Christ’s image. Not to make you
a smarter sinner, but to make you like the Savior. Not to fill your head
with a collection of biblical facts, but to transform your life. (Living by the Book)
Hendricks went on to add that...
Dusty Bibles lead to dirty lives.
In fact, you are either in the Word and the Word is conforming you to
the image of Jesus Christ, or you are in the world and the world is
squeezing you into its mold. (ibid)
The Bible gives us all we
To live our lives for God each day;
But it won't help if we don't read
And follow what its pages say
Backsliders begin with dusty Bibles
and end with filthy garments.
C H Spurgeon
AND TO TEACH HIS STATUTES AND ORDINANCES IN ISRAEL:
(Ezra 7:25; Deuteronomy 33:10; 2Chronicles 17:8,9; 30:22; Nehemiah
8:1-9; Malachi 2:7; Acts 1:1; 1Timothy 3:2; 2Timothy 4:2; Titus 2:1,15)
May Ezra's tribe increase!
(lamad) conveys the idea of training as well as educating. Biblical
teaching seeks to guide people to follow the will of God, not by offering
mere human opinions or suggestions but by bringing “the authoritative
declaration of the Word of God.
If you don’t have a man who is living
the Word, then you don’t have a man who can teach the Word. You cannot
(and should not) teach what you are not living.
Lamad - 80 verses in NAS
- Deut 4:1, 5, 10, 14; 5:1, 31; 6:1; 11:19; 14:23; 17:19; 18:9; 20:18;
31:12f, 19, 22; Judg 3:2; 2 Sam 1:18; 22:35; 1 Chr 5:18; 25:7; 2 Chr 17:7,
9; Ezra 7:10; Job 21:22; Ps 18:34; 25:4f, 9; 34:11; 51:13; 60:1; 71:17;
94:10, 12; 106:35; 119:7, 12, 26, 64, 66, 68, 71, 73, 99, 108, 124, 135,
171; 132:12; 143:10; 144:1; Prov 5:13; 30:3; Eccl 12:9; Song 3:8; 8:2; Isa
1:17; 2:4; 26:9f; 29:13, 24; 40:14; 48:17; Jer 2:33; 9:5, 14, 20; 10:2;
12:16; 13:21; 31:18, 34; 32:33; Ezek 19:3, 6; Dan 1:4; Hos 10:11; Mic 4:3.
NAS renders Lamad -
accept(1), expert(1), instruct(1), instructors(1), learn(15), learned(5),
really learn(1), skillful(1), taught(15), teach(30), teachers(1),
teaches(3), teaching(1), teaching and again(1), train(1), trained(2),
Jesus' parting command to His disciples
and by way of application to believers today still rings true in regard to
the importance of teaching what you learn to others...
Go therefore and
imperative = this is
the only command in His commission) disciples (learners) of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo,
I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Mt 28:16-18)
translates the Hebrew
verb for teach with didasko (from dáo= know or
teach) which means to provide instruction in a formal or informal setting.
teaching as a continual, even lifelong process. Continually teaching the
saints is especially the responsibility of church leaders for as Paul
wrote “An overseer, then, must be…able to teach” (1Timothy 3:2). Why must we
continually teach sound, Biblical doctrine? Simply put, heresy flourishes
when sound doctrine fades! The idea of didasko is to hold discourse with
others in order to instruct them by word of mouth (tutor, direct, advise,
put in mind). In the NT almost without exception didasko refers to the
teaching of groups. Didasko means to teach a student in such a way
that the will of the student becomes conformed to the teaching taught
(which is why it is vital to make sure the Word of God is rightly
divided). The teacher teaches in such a way that as the student is taught,
he or she now changes their mind saying in essence ''I won't do it this
way, but I will do it this way because I've learned this Biblical doctrine
or this Biblical truth.'' Doctrine determines the direction of our
behavior -- we need to ask ourselves are we being conformed to the world
or transformed and conformed into the image of the Son of God?
Pastor Steven Cole
entire sermon) rightly
not everyone is gifted to teach in a
public setting. But whatever you have gleaned from God’s Word and
incorporated into your daily life ought to be passed on to others whom God
puts in your circle of influence. If you teach others what you know in
your head but do not practice in your life, you become like the scribes
and Pharisees of Jesus’ day—hypocrites. This does not mean that you must
be perfect before you teach God’s Word, but it does call for the integrity
of admitting your shortcomings and the honest effort to apply it to
One of the occupational hazards of
preaching God’s Word each week is that I can easily fall into the
trap of studying the Word so that I can tell everyone else how they should
live, but not applying it to myself.
I often think of what John Calvin
It would be better for the preacher to
break his neck going into the pulpit than for him not to be the first to
follow God (cited by J. I. Packer, in a sermon in Anaheim, California,
Or, as Charles Spurgeon put it,
If any man’s life at home is unworthy,
he should go several miles away before he stands up to preach, and then,
when he stands up, he should say nothing. (The Soul Winner [Eerdmans], p.
Stott suggests that in Ezra 7:10
to open the inspired text with such
faithfulness and sensitivity that God’s voice is heard and His people obey
Many preachers bear more resemblance to
entertainers than expositors, stand-up comics rather than knee-shaking
servants. God-fearing, Scripture-reverencing men remain the need of the
hour in pulpits today.
As A T Robertson once quipped...
One proof of the inspiration of the
Bible is that it has withstood so much poor preaching.
John Knox, the great Scottish
I have never once feared the devil, but
I tremble every time I enter the pulpit.
Where are the men like Knox, who tremble when they open the Word of God?
God is ever looking for such men, declaring in Isaiah...
For My hand made all these things, thus
all these things came into being," declares the LORD. "But to this one I
will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who
trembles at My word." (Isaiah 66:2, cp Isa 66:5)
In later chapters Ezra writes...
Then everyone who trembled at the
words of the God of Israel on account of the unfaithfulness of the
exiles gathered to me, and I sat appalled until the evening offering.
So now let us make a covenant with our
God to put away all the wives and their children, according to the counsel
of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God;
and let it be done according to the law. (Ezra 10:3)
Statues (02706) and ordinances
scribes in the early years at the time of Ezra and before were so devoted
to not putting an error in the Scriptures that they would copy the
Scriptures with such fastidiousness it is beyond belief. Some scribes would write one letter, take a bath,
change their clothes, get a new pen, write another letter, take a bath,
change their clothes, get a pen, write another letter. They didn't get a
lot done but what they got done was correct. There was a tremendous
fastidiousness to the completion of the inerrant text and its
This comprehensive threefold
designation—the Law of the Lord, statutes, and ordinances—indicates that
he studied all facets of God’s Word. Tradition says he was the founder of
the Great Synagogue where the Old Testament canon was first recognized. A
number of scholars feel Ezra is the author of Psalm 119 which deals with
the Word of God in virtually all 176 verses.
In Nehemiah we see an example of
Ezra teaching the Word...
And Ebzra opened the book in the sight
of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he
opened it, all the people stood up (sign of reverence and humility). Then
Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen,
Amen!" while lifting up their hands (A symbol of receiving God's
blessing); then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to
the ground (in reverence, awe, and adoration). Also Jeshua, Bani,
Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah,
Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, explained the law to the people
while the people remained in their place. And they read from the book,
from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood
the reading. (Nehemiah 8:5-8)
When one considers the role of Ezra
(and those like him in our modern church), to be sure, every person is important to God and
God’s work; but, as Dr. Lee Roberson said "Everything rises and falls with
McConville has written - The model teacher in Ezra is a doer.
And the doer can be no mere demonstrator. He must be what he would have
his disciples be. (Ed: "Doer" not in the sense of "busyness" but in
the sense of practicing what he preaches.)
Every preacher should follow Ezra’s
example and be committed to the study of the Scriptures in a way that is
consuming, careful, and comprehensive. Pastors must guard their hearts
against the seemingly endless, mounting pressures placed on them to
sacrifice the study of the Word of God upon the "altar" of their growing list of "priorities." The day the preacher
ceases to diligently study
God’s Word, whether he realizes it or not, is the day he begins losing
spiritual passion and power in his preaching.
Shrinking study time in the
will result in
Shrinking power in the pulpit!
Billy Graham was asked, "If you had to live your life over
again, what would you do differently?
His answer might surprise you - "One of my great regrets is that I have
not studied enough, I wish I had studied more and preached less. People
have pressured me into speaking to groups when I should have been studying
Phillip Ryken on Ezra 7:10 -
This verse is one of the Bible’s best summaries of what it means to be a
faithful servant of God’s Word. It is a wonderful verse for pastors, for
seminary students, for theology professors—really, it is a wonderful verse
for everyone. I know this from experience because I embraced this verse
early in my time at seminary. I wrote it out on a note card and tucked it
into the little Bible I carried in my briefcase. From time to time I would
pull it out and meditate on it or pray over it. Over time, God used it to
shape my understanding of what it meant to be a student and a teacher, a
husband and a pastor. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he can use it to
shape your life and ministry, too. The logic of this verse is impeccable.
There were three things that Ezra was committed to doing, and he had them
in the proper order, like “A-B-C” or “1-2-3.” In fact, Ezra had them in
the only order that makes any sense: he had his heart set on studying,
doing, and teaching the Word of God. This was his heart commitment, the
direction of his life, the settled intention of his soul.
3.1. Studying God’s Word - Start with studying. Before we can do
what God wants us to do, or teach anyone else what God wants them to do,
we need to know what God wants us to do, and that means studying God’s
Word. Ezra had committed himself to doing that. We do not know his study
habits, but we know that he was skilled in the Law of Moses. His “delight
was in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditated day and night” (Ps
1:2). Since he was raised in a family of priests, he had studied the
Scriptures from his earliest childhood. He undoubtedly spent hours each
day reading the Bible, pondering its meaning, and discussing its
implications with other students and scholars. In those days, a scribe of
Ezra’s stature would have committed large portions of Scripture to memory.
The unrelenting ambition of his life was to know the Word of God.
After seminary I spent several months as an intern with William Still, the
great Scottish minister who served in downtown Aberdeen. When I met him,
Mr. Still was continuing the weekly preaching ministry he had exercised in
the same pulpit for more than fifty years. Every day I would go and meet
with him in his home to talk about pastoral ministry and the Christian
life. One of the most amazing things about Mr. Still was his voracious
appetite for learning something new from the Word of God. Here was a man
who was well into his eighties, yet he had a boyish enthusiasm for any
fresh insight into biblical truth. “We’re always learning, Philip,” he
would say to me, “we’re always learning.” That is the kind of Bible
scholar that Ezra was and that I hope to become: someone who is keen to
learn God’s Word all the way through life.
3.2. Living by God’s Word - But Ezra did not stop there. He did not
want merely to learn the Bible; he wanted to live it. So the Scripture
says that he set his heart to do the law that he had studied. This meant
loving the Lord his God with all his strength and loving his neighbor as
himself. It meant keeping the Ten Commandments. It meant following all the
regulations for priestly holiness and public worship. It meant doing
everything he could to live by God’s law. Ezra understood that the only
true theology is applied theology. I am reminded of the parishioner who
met the preacher at the door after the service and said, “Pastor, that was
a wonderful sermon.” To which the pastor replied, “Well, that remains to
be seen, doesn’t it?” This was Ezra’s approach exactly. What good is it to
study the Bible, unless we also live by it?
3.3. Teaching God’s Word - Then there was a third step: teaching
God’s statutes and rules in Israel. Ezra would have taken issue with the
famous advertising slogan: Just Do It! “No,” Ezra, would have said, “I
can’t just do it. If I want to learn how to do it, I have to study it
first, and then if it’s worth doing, I will be compelled to teach other
people how to do it, too.” His slogan went more like this: “Don’t just do
it! Study it, do it, teach it.”
Notice as well the scope of Ezra’s vision for ministry. He wanted to teach
God’s law “in Israel.” He wanted to reach his entire nation with the Word
of God. He saw that he had a responsibility to the wider spiritual
community. It was his calling and privilege to spend long periods of time
studying God’s Word. But this was not for his benefit alone; it was for
the edification of the people of God. Eventually God granted Ezra his
heart’s desire. When he read the Book of the Law to all the people in
Jerusalem, he was teaching God’s statutes and rules in Israel—the Bible
teacher for the kingdom.
But all of that came later. Ezra did not begin as a teacher; he became
one. Sometimes people feel called to a teaching ministry, and they get
right into teaching before they have done the hard work of really
mastering the Bible. Then all they have to offer is their own spiritual
experience; they cannot share the deepest riches of God’s Word. Or
sometimes—and this is especially tempting for seminary students and
pastors—they go right from studying to teaching without having the Word of
God really transform their lives. It goes from the mind to the mouth
without ever passing through the heart.
All of this is easy to apply. Like Ezra, you are called to be a student of
God’s Word. We are all called to study God’s Word, and to do it, and as we
have the opportunity, to teach it to others. This means spending time
reading the Bible every day—not in an academic way, but in a devotional
way, nurturing our love relationship with Jesus Christ. It means
meditating on Scripture and memorizing it. It means devoting the very best
of our powers to learning what God has said in his Word.
It also means paying special attention to new areas of personal obedience.
We want to do more than study the Bible; we want to live by it. So what is
God saying to you today that you need put into practice in your daily
life? What will he say to you tomorrow and the day after that? Do not be
content with what you have already attained, but strive to grow in
godliness. Experience the fresh power of the Word of God.
Then once you start living the truth, then and only then can you be
trusted to teach it to others. But bear in mind that this is the goal of
all your studies. You do not study God’s Word for your own benefit, but
for the sake of others. The knowledge you gain is a sacred trust that God
has given you in order that you might give it away. So set your heart to
study the Word of God, and to do it, and to teach it to wherever God calls
you. (Read the full article in Themelios -
Ezra According to
the Gospel - Ezra 7:10)
Donald Grey Barnhouse said that
if he knew the Lord was coming in three years, he would spend two of them
studying and one preaching!
The modern church desperately needs more men like John
Wesley, the Spirit anointed eighteenth-century preacher who was so passionate for
the Word of God (Brethren,
could this have anything to do with His "Spirit anointing"?)
that he once crying out...
O give me that Book!
At any price, give
me the book of God.
Tony Bell writes that...
Greatness in the Kingdom of God can
start nowhere else than with a deep commitment to the Word of God. Several
times throughout the book of Ezra the writer points out that "the good
hand of his God was on him." The reason? "For Ezra had devoted himself to
the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its
decrees and laws in Israel" (Ezra 7:10). Even King Artaxerxes, ruler of
the vast empire where Ezra lived, recognized the source of Ezra's strength
and greatness. In a letter to Ezra (Ezra 7:11–26), he instructed him "to
inquire about Judah and Jerusalem with regard to the Law of your God,
which is in your hand" (Ezra 7:14). He addressed Ezra in the same letter
as "a teacher of the Law of the God of heaven" (Ezra 7:21), and he
credited Ezra with "the wisdom of your God" (Ezra 7:25). The source of
Ezra's greatness lay in his love for the Scriptures, his absolute
commitment to them, and his passion for teaching them.
But what does it mean to be devoted to
the Word of God? It means that the Bible becomes the standard for our
lives. The norms of the Scriptures are the norms that we live by, and we
dedicate ourselves to finding out what those norms are. We commit
ourselves to study the Bible and to fellowship with like-minded people. We
look for people who can help us and teach us how to incorporate the
Scriptures into our lives. We learn its principles and memorize its words.
We pray over it and dialogue with its Author. Like Jeremiah, we "devour"
its words. And like Ezra, who "set his heart to teach its decrees and laws
in Israel," we seek to transmit to others the importance and the authority
of the Scriptures, both by our lives and by our words. (Discipleship
Journal) (Bolding added).
Read it through
Work it out
Pass it on!
Because of its relevance to the
Ezra 7:10 principle, below is the entire sermon
The Ministry of the Word
by Dr John Piper...
I want us to ponder for a few
minutes the significance of the ministry of the Word.
The Significance of the Ministry of
In Acts 6:1-6 the Greek-speaking Jewish widows were being overlooked
in the daily distribution of food. This pressing need clamored for the
apostles’ attention. But the twelve said, “It is not right that we
should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.” So they
appointed seven men to take care of this need, and the apostles said,
“We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
So from the very earliest time in the church it was understood that
the ministry of the Word required so much time and effort that those
called to this ministry should be freed from other demands.
Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:17–18, “Let the elders who rule well be
considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in
preaching and teaching; for the scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle
an ox when it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The laborer deserves
his wages.’ ” In other words the church should value the ministry of
the Word so highly that it is willing to pay elders who devote their
life to it.
This is an ongoing office in the church, not a temporary function of
the apostles. When Christ ascended into heaven, it says in
Ephesians 4:11 (see note)
his gifts were that some should be
This is an office distinct from the
rest of the people in the church, because it says that the
pastor-teachers are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
So we can conclude that the New Testament prescribes for the church
that there be some people set apart for the ministry of the Word, and
that these elders or pastor-teachers devote their main life-efforts to
this ministry and be supported by the church.
Steve Roy has been called to this ministry, and we are now setting him
apart for it. We do well to ponder just what this ministry is. Perhaps
we will come to value it more highly and pray for it more fervently.
And perhaps some among us will feel the call of God this very night
into the ministry of the Word.
What the Ministry of the Word Is
I only have time to mention four things:
1. The ministry of the Word is a ministry of study.
2. The ministry of the Word is a ministry of prayer.
3. The ministry of the Word is a ministry of suffering.
4. The ministry of the Word is a ministry of joy.
1. The ministry of the Word is a ministry of study.
The life of the church hangs on the word of God (Matthew 4:4). And
that inspired word has come to us in the form of a book written in
Greek and Hebrew. None of us comes into the world able to read, let
alone read Greek and Hebrew. These things must be learned. And they
must be learned by study.
And even when they are learned, they only become fruitful when used
like mining tools to dig out the gold and silver of Scripture. And the
only way to dig is to study. The good hand of the Lord was upon
Ezra, the Scripture says, because he
had set his heart to study the law
of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach his statutes and ordinances in
Israel (Ezra 7:9-10).
And Paul tells Timothy to be
zealous to present himself to God as a workman who does not need to be
ashamed because he rightly handles the word of truth (see note
2 Timothy 2:15).
Books About the Bible and the Bible
And let it be emphasized that with all the good and bad books on
theology the ministry of study should always remain primarily a study
of the Bible, and that in the original languages. Philip Lindsay, a
professor at Princeton in the last century used to say, “One of the
best preparations for death is a thorough knowledge of the Greek
grammar.” Which is simply a very pointed way of saying that
pastor-teachers should do their duty and that intellectual labor in
the New Testament is rewarded with real life and death truth.
Richard Baxter wrote something that could save many young pastors
years of regret in misdirected study. He said,
Till at last, being by my sickness
cast far from home, where I had no book but my Bible, I set to study
the truth from thence, and so, by the blessing of God, discovered more
in one week than I had done before in seventeen years’ reading,
hearing, and wrangling
We must beware of the temptation to
replace the study of Scripture with the reading of good books about
the Scripture. If you want to know if a man has studied well, don’t
ask him to show you his library. Ask him to show you his personal
notebooks where he has recorded his own authentic insights into the
Word of God.
Reading and Thinking
We make a great mistake when we think that study consists mainly in
reading (as commonly understood)—even reading the Bible. Many think
they have studied well when they have spent the morning reading
through some worthy book of divinity. And thus the measure of our
study becomes the number of books that we have read.
But my own conviction is that fruitful study is primarily thinking not
reading. My guess is that reading, which was meant to become a
stimulus and guide to independent thinking, usually becomes a
substitute for it. The evidence for this is how many books we read and
how little we write down. Fresh thinking must always be put down on
paper to get it clear and preserve it for use. Much reading and little
thinking makes for a second-hand pastor. And it is not easy to preach
and teach second-hand truths with power.
The ministry of the Word is a ministry of study. And the ministry of
study should be devoted primarily to the Bible. And the study of the
Bible should consist very much in thinking and writing about what it
Relevancy and the Power of Scripture
Nor should such a student of Scripture fret about the cry for
relevancy. The faithful study and teaching of God’s Word will do more
to change the world than anyone imagines. J.C. Ryle wrote,
To the influence of the Bible we
owe nearly every humane and charitable institution in existence. The
sick, the poor, the aged, the orphan, the lunatic, the idiot, the
blind, were seldom or never thought of before the Bible leavened the
world. You may search in vain for any record of institutions for their
aid in the histories of Athens or of Rome. Alas, many sneer at the
Bible, and say the world would get on well enough without it, who
little think how great are their own obligations to the Bible.
2. The ministry of the Word is a
ministry of prayer.
Benjamin Warfield, a great evangelical theologian who died in 1921,
wrote in 1911 about the kind of criticism that comes to those who
believe in much study. Someone said to him that ten minutes on your
knees will give you a truer, deeper, more operative knowledge of God
than ten hours over your books.
“What,” he replied, “more than ten
hours over your books on your knees?”
Recruiting officers do not dispute
whether it is better for soldiers to have a right leg or a left leg:
soldiers should have both legs.
Study and Prayer
The minister of the Word must not choose between study and prayer.
Study without prayer is the work of pride. Prayer without study is
presumption. This is what the Proverbs teach:
If you cry out for insight and
raise your voice for understanding (that’s prayer), and if you seek it
like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures (that’s study),
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge
of God (Proverbs 2:3-5)
Prayer humbles the heart and gives
it the tone of Christ and makes it ready and open and sensitive to the
truth of Scripture. But it is study that brings in the truth and fills
the heart with joy and power.
Meeting the Almighty God
The ministry of the Word is a ministry of prayer because in prayer the
minister meets God and has real living dealings with the Almighty so
that his preaching and teaching have the aroma of God about them. The
ministry of the Word must be a ministry of earnestness and intensity,
and where are these to be found if not in our private meetings with
God where you learn to know if you are real or just playing games?
One great Baptist pastor, Hezekiah Harvey, put it like this in 1879
Moral earnestness can never be
assumed; it is the attribute only of a soul profoundly feeling the
power and reality of divine truth. The man, therefore, who would speak
God’s word with the pungency and fervor of a Bunyan, a Baxter, a
Flavel, or a Payson must, like them, be constant and fervent in
prayer. The springs of spiritual life opened in the closet will pour
forth never-failing streams of life in the pulpit.
Without much prayer all the study
in the world will leave us shallow and lean. Without prayer there
creeps in what Richard Cecil called the
low, managing, contriving,
maneuvering temper of mind among us.
E. M. Bounds is right when he says,
What the Church needs today is not
more machinery or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can
use— men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow
through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but
on men. He does not anoint plans, but men—men of prayer.
3. The ministry of the Word is a ministry of suffering.
The Bible is God’s artillery in the war against sin and Satan. And
when you get recruited for the artillery, you can count on being
Listen to Paul’s second letter to Timothy.
2 Timothy 1:8 (note)
“Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his
prisoner, but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power
2 Timothy 1:11 (note)
“For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,
and therefore I suffer as I do.”
2 Timothy 2:3 (note)
“Take your share of
suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
Soldiers in the War Effort
It belongs to soldiers to suffer for the war effort. No soldier in
conflict expects things to be easy or comfortable. When God calls us
into the ministry of the Word, he recruits us into front-line
artillery action. It is not a safe place to be.
But strangely enough it is the place Paul wants to be. He said in
Philippians that he counted everything as loss that he might
know Christ and the power of his
resurrection, and might share his sufferings becoming like him in his
death. (see note
Paul attained a powerful
authenticity in carrying Christ’s word because he chose to walk in
Christ’s way. He said at the end of Galatians,
Henceforth let no man trouble me,
for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
When you have been wounded in the
service of the Word of Christ and have not gone AWOL or hated your
enemy, there comes a new certainty and depth and power.
Therefore every minister of the Word should say with the apostle Paul,
I do not account my life of any
value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course
and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus.
4. The ministry of the Word is a
ministry of joy.
I sometimes think of the dozens of vocational options that lie open
before me. I could go to a professional referral service and take a
battery of tests to check my aptitude and then enter some management
training course. Or I could go back to school and try medicine where I
started, or perhaps law where my freshman aptitude tests said I was
supposed to go.
Or could I? Not any more than I choose to dislike Pamela Rowe’s
Mississippi Mud Cake. I am a Christian Hedonist. I am enslaved to the
joy of the ministry of the Word.
I say with Paul,
But even if I am being poured out
as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I
rejoice and share my joy with you all. (see note
Paul reminded the pastor-teachers
of Ephesus that in the ministry of the Word it is always more blessed
to give than to receive. And to the Thessalonians he wrote,
For what is our hope or joy or
crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?
For you are our glory and joy. (see note
There is no better way to spend a
brief life on this little earth than to spend it in the ministry of
• Because here what you study is the endless terrain of the infinite
glory of God.
• The one you pray to is the majestic Sovereign whose hand no one can
• What you suffer is for the highest Cause in the universe.
• And what you enjoy is the very delight of God in his Son and in
those he died to save.
Ministry of the Word)
from dáo= know or teach; English = didactic; see study of
didaskalia and the
didaktikos) means to provide
instruction or information in a formal or informal setting.
In the 97 NT
uses of didasko the meaning is virtually always to teach or
instruct, although the purpose and content of the teaching must be
determined from the context.
MacArthur writes that didasko
refers to the passing on of
information-often, but not necessarily, in a formal setting. It
focused on content, with the purpose of discovering the truth-contrary
to the forums so popular among Greeks, where discussion and the
bantering about of various ideas and opinions was the primary concern
(see Acts 17:21). Synagogue teaching, as illustrated by that of
Jesus, was basically expository. Scripture was read and explained
section by section, often verse by verse. (MacArthur,
J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press
source MacArthur writes that didasko (and related words)
In all the various forms, the root
meaning carries with it the idea of systematic teaching or systematic
training. It is the word that is used to refer to a choir director who
trains a choir over a long period of rehearsals until they are able to
perform. The gift of prophecy could be a one-time proclamation of
Christ, but the gift of teaching is a systematic training problem to
take a person from one point to another. What is the curriculum for
the teacher? The Bible, the Word of God. The gift is to teach
systematically the truth of God.
It can be used with men—one on one,
one on two, one on three, one on five thousand. It can be used with
women—one on one, one on two, one on three, one on five thousand. It
can be used by a lady in a little group of children. It can be used by
a mother to a son. It can be used by a husband to his wife. It can be
used in any conceivable way that the Spirit of God desires. It is the
ability to pass on truth in a systematic progression so that someone
receives it, implements it, and a change of behavior takes place. In
fact, it is a gift that belongs to a lot more of us than we realize.
(MacArthur, J. Spiritual Gifts. Includes index. Chicago: Moody Press)
In Scripture to teach
means to pass on the truth about the Word of God, the God of the Word
and the faith of the saints, with the goal of influencing the
understanding and stimulating obedience to
the truth taught and resultant Spirit energized transformation and
Christ-likeness. The essence of a disciple in fact is that he or she
is a learner. The teacher teaches and the disciple hears and processes
what is heard so that this truth affects his or her innermost being.
Ultimately the purpose of didasko is to shape the will of the one
means to cause to know, to help one to learn, to impart knowledge or
skill, or to carry out the activity of instructing by precept or by
is distinguished from to preach, the latter emphasizing the
proclamation of the gospel to the non-Christian world. Teaching of
sound doctrine is vital to stability of one's faith and spiritual
growth and stability of one's faith, this vital role being clearly
validated by our Lord Jesus Christ who was called Rabbi or
Teacher more than any other name -- in fact the some 45 of the 58
NT uses of the Greek word for teacher (didaskalos) are used of
Jesus (most of these referring to public teaching). In addition 47 of
97 occurrences of didasko are used in the Gospels to describe
the activity of Jesus.
was also a primary activity of the leaders of the early church.
(see passages below from Acts)
notes that didasko...
Common from Homer, this word
denotes teaching and learning in the wide sense of imparting
theoretical and practical knowledge with the highest possible
development of the pupil as the goal. There is little religious use,
and the term has a strong intellectual and authoritative bearing. Thus
it can also mean “to demonstrate.” When used in connection with choral
training, it comes almost to have the sense “to perform.”...
A novel feature in the Gospels is
the absence of the intellectual emphasis which is common everywhere
else among Greek writers (classical, postclassical, Hellenistic, and
even Jewish Hellenistic), and which develops in rabbinic exegesis in
an effort to check the disintegrating force of Hellenism, so that in
some circles studying the law can be ranked higher than doing it. In
this respect Jesus with his total claim represents what is perhaps a
truer fulfilment of the OT concept. (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament. Eerdmans)
writes that didasko...
di-dak-sko (root dek-, to accept, extend the
hand to). The reduplicated stem and inchoative suffix convey the idea
of repeatedly extending the hand for acceptance; the word therefore
suggests the idea of causing someone to accept something. It occurs
frequently in Greek from Homer onwards, and in the active voice means
to teach, inform, instruct, demonstrate, prescribe; in the passive to
be instructed, be taught; in the middle to learn for oneself, to think
out, to master. In the active the word occurs chiefly with the
accusative of the person (to teach someone) or with the accusative of
the thing (to teach something), but also with the dative.
It is clear that the word is used
typically for the relationship between teacher and pupil, instructor
and apprentice. What is taught may be knowledge, opinions or facts,
but also artistic and technical skills, all of which are to be
systematically and thoroughly acquired by the learner as a result of
the repeated activity of both teacher and pupil.
Herodotus also uses
didasko to describe the work of the chorus-master (1, 23; 6, 21).
The word is rarely found, however, to describe an activity of the
gods. The aim of all teaching is to communicate knowledge and skill
with a view to developing the pupil’s abilities.... (Brown,
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
Arthur Ward wrote that...
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior
teacher demonstrates. The real teacher inspires.
(1608-74) summarized the importance of teaching when he wrote
The end of all learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge to
love and imitate Him.
What gracious lessons some of us have learned at sick beds. We went to
teach the Scriptures; we came away blushing that we knew so
little of them. In our converse with poor saints we are taught the way
of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into
You must serve God with a single
eye to the glory of God. If you attend a prayer-meeting, or teach
a class, or preach a sermon, you must not do it with a view to your
own selves in any way, or it cannot be accepted.
We must teach more by our
example than by our advice, or else we shall be poor pleaders for the
Here are the 78
uses of didasko in the non-apocryphal
(Deut 4:1, 10,
14; 5:31; 6:1; 11:19; 20:18; 31:19, 22; 32:44; Jdg. 3:2; 2 Sam.
1:18; 22:35; 1Chr. 5:18; 25:7; 2Chr. 17:7, 9; Ezra 7:10; Neh. 8:8; Job 6:24; 8:10; 10:2; 13:23; 21:22; 22:2; 32:8; 33:4, 33; 36:2; 37:19;
42:4; Psalms 18:34, 35; 25:4, 5, 9; 34:11; 51:13; 71:17; 94:10, 12;
119:12, 26, 64, 66, 68, 99, 108, 124, 135, 171; 132:12; 143:10; 144:1;
Prov. 1:23; 4:4, 11; 5:13; 6:13; 22:21; 30:3; Eccl. 12:9; Song 3:8;
Isa. 9:15; 29:13; 55:12; Jeremiah 9:14, 20; 12:16; 13:21; 31:18,
34; 32:33; Ezek. 44:23; Dan. 1:4; 11:4; 12:4; Hos. 10:11)
comments on the OT uses of didasko writing that...
While various kinds of instruction
can be meant (cf. 2 Sa 22:35; Dt. 31:19), God’s will is the special
object, with a volitional as well as an intellectual reference. God
himself, the head of a house, or the righteous may do the teaching. As
distinct from secular usage, where the aim is to develop talents, the
OT relates teaching to the totality of the person. (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament. Eerdmans)
the frequent use of didasko in Psalm 119 every verse of
this Psalm dealing with the some aspect of God's Word -- although it
cannot be proven, it is fascinating that many think Ezra wrote Psalm
119). Notice how the psalmists use the imperative mood (Red
= commands) in their prayers - they recognized their dependence of
God's teaching and held nothing back in asking Him to teach them! May
we as believers today go so boldly before His throne, pleading with
("commanding"!) Him to teach us His ways!
Make me know
Thy ways, O LORD; Teach me Thy paths. 5 Lead me in Thy truth
(Hebrew = lamad; Lxx = didasko) me, For Thou art the God of my
salvation; For Thee I wait all the day...9 He leads the humble in
justice, And He teaches the humble His way.
(Hebrew = lamad; Lxx = didasko) me good discernment and knowledge, for
I believe in Thy commandments.
(Hebrew = lamad; Lxx = didasko) me to do Thy will, For Thou art my
God; Let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Psalm 144:1 A Psalm of
David. Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains (Hebrew =
lamad; Lxx = didasko) my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
Proverbs 1:23 "Turn to my
reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my
words known (Lxx = didasko) to you.
Isaiah 29:13 (modified from
Young's Literal) And the Lord saith: Because drawn near has this
people, with its mouth, and with its lips they have honoured Me, and
its heart it has put far off from Me, and their fear of Me is
(consists of) a precept of men taught (Hebrew = lamad; Lxx =
Jeremiah 31:34 "And they
shall not teach (Hebrew = lamad; Lxx = didasko) again,
each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the
LORD,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the
greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their
iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
Jeremiah 32:33 "And they
have turned their back to Me, and not their face; though I taught
(Hebrew = lamad; Lxx = didasko) them, teaching (Hebrew = lamad;
Lxx = didasko) again and again, they would not listen and receive
Ezekiel 44:23 "Moreover,
they shall teach (Hebrew = yarah; Lxx = didasko) My people the
difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern
between the unclean and the clean.
Here are the 97
uses of didasko in the 91 NT verses...
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus was
going about in all Galilee, teaching (present
continually, His habitual practice, He taught as a lifestyle) in their
synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing
every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
Comment: Observe how Jesus
coupled teaching with proclamation of the Good News and how these
activities took precedence over "signs and wonders". The modern church
needs to be careful not to deviate from our Lord's pattern. Note that
Whereas didasko relates to explaining a message, whereas
proclaiming (kerusso) relates simply to announcing it.
Matthew 5:2 (note)
(Note Jesus is seated taking the normal posture of the Rabbis while
teaching) And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying
Matthew 5:19 (note)
"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so
teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;
but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in
the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 7:29 (note)
for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as
Matthew 9:35 And Jesus was going about all the cities and the
villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the
gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every
kind of sickness.
Comment: Observe again as in
Mt 4:23 Jesus' pattern.
Matthew 11:1 And it came about that when Jesus had finished
giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to
teach and preach in their cities.
Comment: Observe again as in
Mt 4:23 Jesus' pattern - "teach and preach".
Matthew 13:54 And coming to
His home town He began teaching them in their synagogue, so
that they became astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this
wisdom, and these miraculous powers?
Matthew 15:9 'But in vain do they worship Me, teaching
as doctrines the precepts of men.'"
Matthew 21:23 And when He had come into the temple, the chief
priests and the elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching,
and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave
You this authority?"
Matthew 22:16 And they sent their disciples to Him, along with
the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful and
teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are
not partial to any.
Matthew 26:55 At that time Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have
you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as against a robber?
Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not
Comment: Observe it is not
His signs and wonders He emphasizes but His teaching.
Matthew 28:15 And they took
the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story
was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.
Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I
commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the
Comment: Context =
Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and
imperative = Do
this now! Do it effectively! This is the urgent need!) of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the
Observe it is not Jesus' signs and
wonders which He emphasizes but teaching, and how teaching
and obeying the teaching (cp to the "Ezra 710" principle
which result in the good hand of the Lord upon his ministry) is His
pattern for making disciples!
Mark 1:21 And they went into
Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and
began to teach.
Mark 1:22 And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was
continuously) them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Mark 2:13 And He went out again by the seashore; and all the
multitude were coming to Him, and He was teaching them.
Mark 4:1 And He began to teach again by the sea. And
such a very great multitude gathered to Him that He got into a boat in
the sea and sat down; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the
Mark 4:2 And He was teaching them many things in
parables, and was saying to them in His teaching,
Mark 6:2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach
in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying,
"Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to
Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?
Mark 6:6 And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going
around the villages teaching.
Mark 6:30 And the apostles gathered together with Jesus; and
they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.
Mark 6:34 And when He went ashore, He saw a great multitude,
and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a
shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.
Mark 7:7 'But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as
doctrines the precepts of men.'
Mark 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man
must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief
priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise
Mark 9:31 For He was teaching His disciples and telling
them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and
they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three
Mark 10:1 And rising up, He went from there to the region of
Judea, and beyond the Jordan; and crowds gathered around Him again,
and, according to His custom, He once more began to teach them.
Mark 11:17 And He began to teach and say to them, "Is it
not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the
nations '? But you have made it a robbers' den."
Mark 12:14 And they came and said to Him, "Teacher, we know
that You are truthful, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to
any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a
poll-tax to Caesar, or not?
Mark 12:35 And Jesus answering began to say, as He taught
in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the
son of David?
Mark 14:49 "Every day I was with you in the temple teaching,
and you did not seize Me; but this has happened that the Scriptures
might be fulfilled."
Luke 4:15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and
was praised by all.
Comment: Jesus' teaching is
in accord with that of a typical teacher of the first century. In this
section of Luke, taking place in Nazareth, Jesus reads Scripture,
seated himself, and then expounded the passage.
Luke 4:31 And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And
He was teaching them on the Sabbath;
Luke 5:3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's,
and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down
and began teaching the multitudes from the boat.
Luke 5:17 And it came about one day that He was teaching;
and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from
Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform
Luke 6:6 And it came about on another Sabbath, that He entered
the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose
right hand was withered.
Luke 11:1 And it came about that while He was praying in a
certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to
Him, "Lord, teach
imperative = Do
this now! This is the urgent need!) us to pray just as John also
taught his disciples."
Luke 12:12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that
very hour what you ought to say."
Luke 13:10 And He was teaching in one of the synagogues
on the Sabbath.
Luke 13:22 And He was passing through from one city and village
to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem.
Luke 13:26 "Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in
Your presence, and You taught in our streets';
Luke 19:47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but
the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people
were trying to destroy Him,
Luke 20:1 And it came about on one of the days while He was
teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, that
the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him,
Luke 20:21 And they questioned Him, saying, "Teacher, we know
that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to
any, but teach the way of God in truth.
Luke 21:37 Now during the day He was teaching in the
temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the
mount that is called Olivet.
Luke 23:5 But they kept on insisting, saying, "He stirs up the
people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee, even as
far as this place."
John 6:59 These things He said in the synagogue, as He
taught in Capernaum.
John 7:14 But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went
up into the temple, and began to teach.
John 7:28 Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching
and saying, "You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not
come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.
John 7:35 The Jews therefore said to one another, "Where does
this man intend to go that we shall not find Him? He is not intending
to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks,
John 8:2 And early in the morning He came again into the
temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and
began to teach them.
John 8:20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught
in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet
John 8:28 Jesus therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of
Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own
initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.
John 9:34 They answered and said to him, "You were born
entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they put him
John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father
will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring
to your remembrance all that I said to you.
John 18:20 Jesus answered him, "I have spoken openly to the
world; I always taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where
all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret.
Acts 1:1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all
that Jesus began to do and teach,
Acts 4:2 being greatly disturbed because they were teaching
the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
Acts 4:18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them
not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Acts 5:21 And upon hearing this, they entered into the temple
about daybreak, and began to teach. Now when the high priest
and his associates had come, they called the Council together, even
all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison
house for them to be brought.
Acts 5:25 But someone came and reported to them, "Behold, the
men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching
Acts 5:28 saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue
teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with
your teaching, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us."
Acts 5:42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house,
they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the
Acts 11:26 and when he had found him, he brought him to
Antioch. And it came about that for an entire year they met with the
church, and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were
first called Christians in Antioch.
Acts 15:1 And some men came down from Judea and began
teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to
the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."
Acts 15:35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch,
teaching and preaching, with many others also, the word of the
Acts 18:11 And he settled there a year and six months,
teaching the word of God among them.
Acts 15:25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord;
and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching
accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the
baptism of John;
Acts 20:20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything
that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house
Acts 21:21 and they have been told about you, that you are
teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses,
telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to
Acts 21:28 (Young's Literal) crying out, 'Men, Israelites,
help! this is the man who, against the people, and the law, and this
place, all everywhere is teaching; and further, also, Greeks he
brought into the temple, and hath defiled this holy place;'
Acts 28:31 preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching
concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
Romans 2:21 (note)
you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?
You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal?
Romans 12:7 (note)
if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;
1 Corinthians 4:17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy,
who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind
you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere
in every church.
1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not even nature itself teach
you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him,
Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I
taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Comment: Note that Paul's
teacher was the risen Lord Jesus Christ! Can you imagine the rapt
attention of Paul when His Lord taught!
Ephesians 4:21 (note)
if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just
as truth is in Jesus,
Colossians 1:28 (note)
And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every
man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.
Colossians 2:7 (note)
having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and
established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and
overflowing with gratitude.
Colossians 3:16 (note)
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom
teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to
the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth
or by letter from us.
1 Timothy 2:12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or
exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
1 Timothy 4:11
1 Timothy 6:2 And let those who have believers as their masters
not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them
serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are
believers and beloved.
2 Timothy 2:2
(note) And the things which you have heard from me in the
presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be
able to teach others also.
Titus 1:11 (note)
who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families,
teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of
Hebrews 5:12 (note)
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again
for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the
oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Hebrews 8:11 (note)
"And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And
everyone his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' For all shall know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
1 John 2:27 And as for you, the anointing which you received
from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach
you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true
and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
Revelation 2:14 (note)
'But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who
hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a
stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to
idols, and to commit acts of immorality.
Revelation 2:20 (note)
'But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who
calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My
bond-servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat
things sacrificed to idols.
prepare our heart. God extends His hand!
Prosperity in this life is due
to the good hand of the Lord.
Idea of good hand of the Lord = Pr
3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths
Hand of God on David when he
failed to confess - Ps 32:3 When I kept silent about my sin, my
body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and
night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as
with the fever heat of summer. Selah. 5 I acknowledged my sin to Thee,
And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my
transgressions to the LORD"; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my
(Isa 66:14) Then you shall see
this, and your heart shall be glad, And your bones shall flourish like
the new grass; And the hand of the LORD shall be made known to His
servants, But He shall be indignant toward His enemies.
Exodus 9:3 behold, the hand of
the LORD will come with a very severe pestilence on your livestock
which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels,
on the herds, and on the flocks.
Deuteronomy 2:15 "Moreover the hand of the LORD was against
them, to destroy them from within the camp until they all perished.
Joshua 4:24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the
hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God
Joshua 22:31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the
sons of Reuben and to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Manasseh,
"Today we know that the LORD is in our midst, because you have not
committed this unfaithful act against the LORD; now you have delivered
the sons of Israel from the hand of the LORD."
Judges 2:15 Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was
against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had
sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.
Ruth 1:13 would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you
therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder
for me than for you, for the hand of the LORD has gone forth
1 Samuel 5:6 Now the hand of the LORD was heavy on the
Ashdodites, and He ravaged them and smote them with tumors, both
Ashdod and its territories.
9 After they had brought it around,
the hand of the LORD was against the city with very great
confusion; and He smote the men of the city, both young and old, so
that tumors broke out on them.
1 Samuel 7:13 So the Philistines
were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of
Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines
all the days of Samuel.
1 Samuel 12:15 "If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but
rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD
will be against you, as it was against your fathers.
2 Samuel 24:14 Then David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Let us
now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great,
but do not let me fall into the hand of man."
Homilist - FAITH IN THE UNSEEN
WORLD. David felt that if desolation and death overtook him he would
be safe if, when leaving this life, he fell “into the hand of the
Lord.” With home in view, pilgrimage will be cheered, the heart will
be calmed and comforted. With the eternal God for our refuge and
the eternal arms underneath us, “forward” may be our fearless
watchword. Into the infinite, unfailing “hand of the Lord” let us
commit ourselves. (Homilist.)
1 Kings 18:46 Then the hand of the LORD was on Elijah,
and he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel.
2 Kings 3:15 "But now bring me a minstrel." And it came about, when
the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him (Elisha).
1 Chronicles 21:13 David said to Gad, "I am in great distress; please
let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very
great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man."
Ezra 7:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled
in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given; and
the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the
LORD his God was upon him.
It was no small work that the good
Ezra had undertaken. To lead a great expedition across the
inhospitable desert; to convoy the sacred vessels and a large treasure
of gold and silver; to set-magistrates and judges over all that great
district beyond the river— this was no slight task, and he needed
strength. But in the simple language of his heart the good hand of his
God was upon him, and that was sufficient to nerve and strengthen him.
Ezra 7:9 For on the first of the
first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the
fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was
upon him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD,
and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in
Cole - To have God’s hand of
blessing on us, we must study and obey His Word, with a view to
teaching others and glorifying God for everything. That theme is
stated in Ezra 7:10, which explains why “the good hand of his God was
upon him” (Ezra 7:9): “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of
the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances
in Israel.” The connection between Ezra and God’s Word is repeated no
less than eight times (Ezra 7:6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 21, 25, 26)! There is
a definite correlation between our commitment to know and obey God’s
Word and His hand of blessing being upon us.
Ezra 7:28 and has extended
lovingkindness to me before the king and his counselors and before all
the king's mighty princes. Thus I was strengthened according to
the hand of the LORD my God upon me, and I gathered leading men
from Israel to go up with me.
Context - Ezra 7:27
Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing
as this in the king’s heart, to adorn the house of the LORD which is
Would that we might also be quick
to discern the movement of the Most High. Would that we might see the
good hand of God as He works for us. Ezra acknowledged that God
strengthened him. He said, "I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord
my God was upon me." Did not the Lord Jesus say, "All power is given
unto Me, * * Go"? Is not the hand of God upon us? Are we not able to
do all things through Him who strengtheneth us? Power belongeth unto
God, and when we are panoplied with God, we have all power, according
to the working of His mighty power. Think you that the apostle Paul
wrought in his own strength. Far be it. He said concerning himself: "I
was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling * * but
in demonstration of the Spirit and power." "Power belongeth unto God."
(Ps 62:11) Let us then go forward strengthened in the strength of His
Ps 62:11 Once God has spoken; Twice
I have heard this: That power belongs to God; (Ps 68:34 Ascribe
strength to God) (Ps 29:1 (A Psalm of David.) Ascribe to the LORD, O
sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.) (Ps 96:6
Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His
sanctuary.7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to
the LORD glory and strength.) (1Chr 16:28 Ascribe to the LORD, O
families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.29
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and
come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array.
Ezra 8:18 And according to the good
hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of insight of the sons
of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, and
his sons and brothers, 18 men;
Steven Cole - We see Ezra’s
humble trust in God in his thankful acknowledgement that these men
joined the group because of “the good hand of our God upon us.” He
recognized that God had to put it on the hearts of His people to be
willing to serve, even in the tasks that were not so flashy.
Ezra 8:22 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."
Ezra 8:31 Then we journeyed from
the river Ahava on the twelfth of the first month to go to Jerusalem;
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.
Neh 2:8 and a letter to Asaph the
keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams
for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of
the city, and for the house to which I will go." And the king granted
them to me because the good hand of my God was on me. (cp Pr
Steven Cole - “So I prayed
to the God of heaven. And I said to the king....” It had to be a
silent, instantaneous cry of “Help, Lord!” Or, “Lord, give me wisdom
now!” This quick sentence prayer rested on four months of extended
praying. It shows that Nehemiah depended on the Lord in every
situation. As Neh 2:8 shows, Nehemiah didn’t attribute the king’s
favorable response to good luck. Rather, “the king granted them to me
because the good hand of my God was on me.” As Proverbs 21:1
states, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of
the Lord. He turns it wherever He wishes.” Or, as Hudson Taylor
said, “It is possible to move men through God by prayer alone” (cited
by Charles Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick [Thomas Nelson Publishers],
p. 43). One reason God makes us wait on Him is to teach us to depend
on Him in prayer. If He immediately granted everything we ask for,
we’d grab the goodies and forget God. But when we wait on God in
prayer, we learn to seek God Himself and to depend upon Him in ways
that we never would learn any other way. And, when the answer finally
comes, we realize that it is because of one reason: “the good hand
of our God was upon us.” Thus we give Him all the glory He
Neh 2:18 And I told them how the
hand of my God had been favorable to me, and also about the king's
words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and
build." So they put their hands to the good work.
Job 12:9 "Who among all these does
not know That the hand of the LORD has done this
Psalm 75:8 For a cup is in the hand of the LORD, and the wine
foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the
wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs.
Psalm 118:15 The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the
tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does
16 The right hand of the
LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
John Phillips - The theme of
the rejoicing is given: "The right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORDdoeth
valiantly." Look at that right hand of His. It is a pierced hand,
engaged now in a priestly work, raised at God's right hand in answer
to all the accusations of the evil one against the people of God.
Satan cannot get anywhere near the throne with his venomous charges
because that hand is upraised to silence every word he utters.
Biblical Illustrator - The
right hand of the Lord” represents His power in its loftiest
manifestation, its sovereignty, its resistlessness, its omnipotence.
Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is like channels of water in the
hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Isaiah 19:16 In that day the Egyptians will become like women, and
they will tremble and be in dread because of the waving of the hand
of the LORD of hosts, which He is going to wave over them.
Isaiah 25:10 For the hand of the LORD will rest on this
mountain, And Moab will be trodden down in his place As straw is
trodden down in the water of a manure pile.
Isaiah 41:20 That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain
insight as well, That the hand of the LORD has done this, And
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Isaiah 62:3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the
LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
Isaiah 66:14 Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad, And
your bones will flourish like the new grass; And the hand of the
LORD will be made known to His servants, But He will be indignant
toward His enemies.
Jeremiah 51:7 Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the LORD,
Intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine;
Therefore the nations are going mad.
Ezekiel 1:3 the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest,
son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and
there the hand of the LORD came upon him.)
Ezekiel 3:14 So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away; and I went
embittered in the rage of my spirit, and the hand of the LORD
was strong on me.
22 ¶ The hand of the LORD was on me there, and He said to me,
"Get up, go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you."
Ezekiel 8:1 ¶ It came about in the sixth year, on the fifth day of the
sixth month, as I was sitting in my house with the elders of Judah
sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell on me
Elmer Towns refers to "the Hand
of the Lord (God)" as one of the magnificent names of the Holy
Spirit. (Ezek 8:1, Job 12:9, Isa 41:20 referring to creation - That
the hand of the LORD has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has
created it. )
Ezekiel 33:22 Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me in the
evening, before the refugees came. And He opened my mouth at the time
they came to me in the morning; so my mouth was opened and I was no
Ezekiel 37:1 ¶ The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought
me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the
valley; and it was full of bones.
Ezekiel 40:1 ¶ In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning
of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after
the city was taken, on that same day the hand of the LORD was
upon me and He brought me there.
Luke 1:66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, "What then
will this child turn out to be?" For the hand of the Lord was
certainly with him.
Acts 11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large
number who believed turned to the Lord.
Ivor Powell - Every person
became aware that supernatural power worked through the visitors, but
Luke expressed his convictions with the words, "The hand of the Lord
was with them" (v. 21). Daily, large audiences listened to the gospel,
and additional converts embraced the faith. They "turned unto the
Lord;" that is, they renounced their former deeds and, forsaking
idolatry, followed Christ. That was Christianity at its best. People
whose profession of faith is not followed by a transformation of life
style are shallow, unconvincing, and dangerous.
Acts 13:11 "Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and
you will be blind and not see the sun for a time." And immediately a
mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who
would lead him by the hand.
(Job 12:9) “Who among all these does not know That the hand of the
LORD has done this, (Job 12:10) In whose hand is the life of every
living thing, And the breath of all mankind?
he hand of the Lord - Nothing can be disposed of without the good
pleasure and providence of God, who hath the life and breath of all
creatures, men as well as others, in His hand.
I. The present hand of God upon
everything. 1. This is one of the doctrines which men believe, but are
constantly forgetting. 2. This is a fact of universal force. 3. A
truth worthy of perpetual remembrance. Child of God, see where thou
art. Thou art completely in the hand of God. Thou art absolutely and
entirely, and in every respect, placed at the will and disposal of Him
who is thy God. Art thou grieved because of this? Does this doctrine
trouble thee? Let your conversation be as becometh this doctrine.
Speak of what thou wilt do, and of what will happen, always in respect
to the fact that man proposes, but God disposes. To the sinner we say,
Man, you are in the hand of God. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
A significant number of texts refer
to the “hand of God” in various contexts. Basically, this
concept refers to divine power and authority. For example, in regard
to his people, Yahweh is said to “lift up his hand” against them as
punishment for their rebellion against him (cf. Eze. 44:12). Sometimes
“the hand of the Lord” was against them (e.g., Ex 16:3; Lev. 26:25;
Jdg 2:15; Ru 1:13; Isa. 5:25; Eze. 20:15). The covenant curse is in
view in Ex 16:3; Lev. 26:25. In a related sense, Yahweh is said to
deliver his people “into the hands of ... (their enemies)” as a
punishment for their sin. This is particularly true at the time of the
judges (cf. Jdg 2:14; 3:8 ff.); and the exile of both Israel and Judah
(cf. Hos. 2:10; Ps 106:41; Jer. 20: 4 ff.; 32:25 ff.; Eze. 11: 9;
39:23; Ezra 9: 7). The “hand of Yahweh” is also stretched out against
the enemies of his people in judgment — for example, the Canaanites
(cf. Dt 2:15; Jos. 7: 7; Jdg 1: 4); the Philistines (cf. 1Sa. 5: 6
ff.; Eze. 25:16); Egypt (cf. Ex 3:20; 7:4 ff.; Isa. 11:15); and
enemies in general (cf. Isa. 9:12, 17; Mic. 5: 9). “The hand of the
Lord” is also referred to in regard to the prophetic endowment of the
Spirit of God in preparation for the prophet to receive the divine
word. This specific usage, however, is restricted to the prophet
Ezekiel (cf. Eze. 1: 3; 3:14; 8:14; 37:1; 40:1). Other general
references to the “hand of God/Yahweh” include his bringing
Israel out of captivity “with a mighty hand” (Eze. 20:34); David
pleading with God to “stay his hand of judgment” (2Sa. 24:16); and
God’s “good hand of mercy” (Ezra 8:18ff.; Neh. 2:18). See also
Ex 15:17; Ec 2:24. God’s “hands” are also indicated in contexts
referring to divine creativity (e.g., Job 10: 8; Ps 119:73; Pr 31:31;
Ec 2:11; Isa. 19:25; 64:8); as well as divine protection (e.g., Job
12:10; Ps 10:14; 73:23; Ec 9: 1;Jer. 31:32). Note especially the cry
of the psalmist in Ps 31:5 Into Thy hand I commit my spirit;,
anticipating the climax of Jesus’ death on the cross: “Into your
hands, I commit my spirit.” Still in the context of divine initiative,
there are a number of references to Yahweh delivering his people “out
of the hands of (their enemies)” — for example, Egypt (cf. Ex 13: 3;
Dt 1:27; Jdg 6: 9); Philistia (cf. 1Sa. 7:13, 14); and enemies in
general (cf. 1Sa. 12:11; Eze. 13:23). See also Ps 18: 1; 31:15; 71:4.
Ken Hemphill - God is the owner,
man is the manager, and therefore man's labor is from the hand of God.
Touched by the Master's Hand
"Now the hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening." Ezekiel 33:22
Sometimes as the day wears on there is a gloomness about our souls for
we feel the chastening of the Lord.
We should rejoice in such chastening for it is only His own loved ones
which He chastens. Oh if only chastening brings my Lord I rejoice, I
kiss the rod because of the One whose hand holds it and uses it.
But let us remember the hand of the Lord is upon us more often in
mercy than in judgment. Judgment is His strange work.
Mercifulness is His daily occupation. His hand upon us—to encourage.
How encouraging is the touch of His hand! Just to know He's there, my
Saviour who died for me that is the greatest encouragement I could
have. But what is He there for?
A very present help in trouble. His encouragement is more than a match
for all my discouragement.
O Lord let me feel your hand of encouragement this day.
His hand upon us—to enable.
What a mess we make of ourselves and our service. We have not learned
that without Him we can do nothing. When we come to the end and like
the prodigal reach ourselves (remember he came to himself) then His
blessed hand touches us with the grace of enablement and we cry out
joyfully, "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me."
With that touch all things are within our capability.
His hand upon us—to entertain.
Entertainment is not a sole gift of the world as the devil would like
us to believe. Christ right royally entertains his friends with the
touch of the Master's hand. The feast that hand spreads, the wine that
hand presents, the pleasures that hand creates produces an
entertainment this old world never dreamt of.
Where His hand is at work there is fullness of joy unspeakable, and
right there at His right hand there are pleasures for ever more.
Lord touch me this day with Thy Hand.
The Dry Bones Sermon
Ezekiel 37:1-10 (part one)
To do the work of God we require:
I. Divine Ordination
"The hand of the Lord was upon me" verse 1
The one thing essential is the hand of the Lord upon the preacher.
Elijah attended no school of the prophets but the hand of the Lord was
Elisha graduated neither from Bethel School of the prophets nor
Jericho School of the prophets but the hand of the Lord was upon him.
John the Baptist's only university was the wilderness but the hand of
the Lord was upon him.
II. Divine Separation
"and carried me out" verse 1
We must be separated in order to do God's work in God's way. We must
take the Separatist Position. Affiliation, incorporation, federation
with ecumenicals must cease. That separation must be
III. Divine Motivation
"in the Spirit of the Lord" verse 1
We need to be motivated only by God's Spirit. The hand of the Lord
puts us under the direction of the Spirit of God and makes us captive
to the Word of God.
The Spirit of God never leads us contrary to His own Word. Holy men of
God spake as they were moved by the Spirit of God.
IV. Divine Humiliation
"set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones" verse
Down amongst that which bore the curse and made the prophet
We must sit where they sit but still hate the garments spotted by the
Falling Into the Hand of the
"And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait; let us fall now into
the hand of the Lord: for his mercies are great: and let me not fall
into the hand of man." 2 Samuel 24:14
Trouble of Our Own Making
"I am in a great strait"
Many of our troubles are of our own making. Much of our food is of our
own baking. When we choose the path of disobedience we reap the
harvest of punishment. So it was with David. So it is with us.
Treatment of Our Own Choosing
"Let us fall now into the hand of God"
How would we be treated? We should always choose to fell into God's
hand. In the greatest of troubles we are better to let go and let God.
Falling into God's hands is always a soft fall.
Testimony of Our Own Experiencing
"for His mercies are great"
How vast and immeasurable are the mercies of God! They reach beyond
our vision and soar beyond our calculations. To throw ourselves on
God's mercies is always the softest of beds. Always make this right
Ezra 7:6 the hand of the Lord. A variation of the striking clause,
"the hand of the Lord his God upon him," occurs six times in Ezra
(Ezra 7:6, 9, 28; 8:18, 22, 31) and twice in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:8,
18). Both writers emphasize that their own remarkable accomplishments
were by the protecting and enabling grace of God.
= Darash - 152 Verses in the Old Testament
Genesis 9:5 "Surely I will
require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it.
And from every man, from every man's brother I will require the
life of man.
Genesis 25:22 But the children struggled together within her; and she
said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire
of the LORD.
Genesis 42:22 Reuben answered them, saying, "Did I not tell you, 'Do
not sin against the boy'; and you would not listen? Now comes the
reckoning for his blood."
Exodus 18:15 Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come
to me to inquire of God.
Leviticus 10:16 But Moses searched carefully for the
goat of the sin offering, and behold, it had been burned up! So he was
angry with Aaron's surviving sons Eleazar and Ithamar, saying,
Deuteronomy 4:29 "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and
you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all
Deuteronomy 11:12 a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes
of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the
end of the year.
Deuteronomy 12:5 "But you shall seek the LORD at the place which the
LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name
there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.
30 beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are
destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods,
saying, 'How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do
Deuteronomy 13:14 then you shall investigate and search out and
inquire thoroughly. If it is true and the matter established that this
abomination has been done among you,
Deuteronomy 17:4 and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then
you shall inquire thoroughly. Behold, if it is true and the thing
certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel,
Deuteronomy 17:9 "So you shall come to the Levitical priest or the judge who is in
office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will
declare to you the verdict in the case.
Deuteronomy 18:11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a
spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
Deuteronomy 18:19 'It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which
he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.
Deuteronomy 19:18 "The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the
witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely,
Deuteronomy 22:2 "If your countryman is not near you, or if you do not
know him, then you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall
remain with you until your countryman looks for it; then you shall
restore it to him.
Deuteronomy 23:6 "You shall never seek their peace or their prosperity
all your days.
Deuteronomy 23:21 "When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to
pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely
require it of you.
Judges 6:29 They said to one another, "Who did this thing?" And when
they searched about and inquired, they said, "Gideon the son of Joash
did this thing."
1 Samuel 9:9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God,
he used to say, "Come, and let us go to the seer"; for he who is
called a prophet now was formerly called a seer.)
1 Samuel 28:7 Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek for me a woman who
is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his
servants said to him, "Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at En-dor."
2 Samuel 11:3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one
said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah
1 Kings 14:5 Now the LORD had said to Ahijah, "Behold, the wife of
Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is
sick. You shall say thus and thus to her, for it will be when she
arrives that she will pretend to be another woman."
1 Kings 22:5 Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel,
"Please inquire first for the word of the LORD."
7 But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here
that we may inquire of him?"
8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is yet one man by
whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, because he does not
prophesy good concerning me, but evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah."
But Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say so."
2 Kings 1:2 And Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper
chamber which was in Samaria, and became ill. So he sent messengers
and said to them, "Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron,
whether I will recover from this sickness."
3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Arise, go up
to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and say to them, 'Is it
because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of
Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?'
6 They said to him, "A man came up to meet us and said to us, 'Go,
return to the king who sent you and say to him, "Thus says the LORD,
'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to
inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come
down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.'"'"
16 Then he said to him, "Thus says the LORD, 'Because you have sent
messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron-- is it because
there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word?-- therefore you
shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall
2 Kings 3:11 But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not a prophet of the LORD
here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?" And one of the king of
Israel's servants answered and said, "Elisha the son of Shaphat is
here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah."
2 Kings 8:8 The king said to Hazael, "Take a gift in your hand and go
to meet the man of God, and inquire of the LORD by him, saying, 'Will
I recover from this sickness?'"
2 Kings 22:13 "Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all
Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great
is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers
have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all
that is written concerning us."
18 "But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the LORD thus
shall you say to him, 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel, "Regarding
the words which you have heard,
1 Chronicles 10:13 ¶ So Saul died for his trespass which he committed
against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not
keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of
14 and did not inquire of the LORD. Therefore He killed him and turned
the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.
1 Chronicles 13:3 and let us bring back the ark of our God to us, for
we did not seek it in the days of Saul."
1 Chronicles 15:13 "Because you did not carry it at the first, the
LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according
to the ordinance."
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face
1 Chronicles 21:30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God,
for he was terrified by the sword of the angel of the LORD.
1 Chronicles 22:19 "Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD
your God; arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the LORD God,
so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy
vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the
1 Chronicles 26:31 As for the Hebronites, Jerijah the chief (these
Hebronites were investigated according to their genealogies and
fathers' households, in the fortieth year of David's reign, and men of
outstanding capability were found among them at Jazer of Gilead)
1 Chronicles 28:8 "So now, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of
the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek after all
the commandments of the LORD your God so that you may possess the good
land and bequeath it to your sons after you forever.
9 ¶ "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and
serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches
all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek
Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject
2 Chronicles 1:5 Now the bronze altar, which Bezalel the son of Uri,
the son of Hur, had made, was there before the tabernacle of the LORD,
and Solomon and the assembly sought it out.
2 Chronicles 12:14 He did evil because he did not set his heart to
seek the LORD.
2 Chronicles 14:4 and commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their
fathers and to observe the law and the commandment.
7 For he said to Judah, "Let us build these cities and surround them
with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours because
we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He has given
us rest on every side." So they built and prospered.
2 Chronicles 15:2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen
to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the LORD is with you when you
are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if
you forsake Him, He will forsake you.
12 They entered into the covenant to seek the LORD God of their
fathers with all their heart and soul;
13 and whoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to
death, whether small or great, man or woman.
2 Chronicles 16:12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became
diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease
he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians.
2 Chronicles 17:3 The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed
the example of his father David's earlier days and did not seek the
4 but sought the God of his father, followed His commandments, and did
not act as Israel did.
2 Chronicles 18:4 ¶ Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel,
"Please inquire first for the word of the LORD."
6 But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here
that we may inquire of him?"
7 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is yet one man by
whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, for he never
prophesies good concerning me but always evil. He is Micaiah, son of
Imla." But Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say so."
2 Chronicles 19:3 "But there is some good in you, for you have removed
the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God."
2 Chronicles 20:3 Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to
seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
2 Chronicles 22:9 He also sought Ahaziah, and they caught him while he
was hiding in Samaria; they brought him to Jehu, put him to death and
buried him. For they said, "He is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought
the LORD with all his heart." So there was no one of the house of
Ahaziah to retain the power of the kingdom.
2 Chronicles 24:6 So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief priest and
said to him, "Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from
Judah and from Jerusalem the levy fixed by Moses the servant of the
LORD on the congregation of Israel for the tent of the testimony?"
22 Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father
Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he died he
said, "May the LORD see and avenge!"
2 Chronicles 25:15 Then the anger of the LORD burned against Amaziah,
and He sent him a prophet who said to him, "Why have you sought the
gods of the people who have not delivered their own people from your
20 ¶ But Amaziah would not listen, for it was from God, that He might
deliver them into the hand of Joash because they had sought the gods
2 Chronicles 26:5 He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah,
who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he
sought the LORD, God prospered him.
2 Chronicles 30:19 everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the
LORD God of his fathers, though not according to the purification
rules of the sanctuary."
2 Chronicles 31:9 Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites
concerning the heaps.
21 Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law
and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and
2 Chronicles 32:31 Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of
Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in
the land, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all
that was in his heart.
2 Chronicles 34:3 For in the eighth year of his reign while he was
still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in
the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high
places, the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images.
21 "Go, inquire of the LORD for me and for those who are left in
Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book which has been
found; for great is the wrath of the LORD which is poured out on us
because our fathers have not observed the word of the LORD, to do
according to all that is written in this book."
26 "But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus
you will say to him, 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel regarding the
words which you have heard,
Ezra 4:2 they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers'
households, and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we, like
you, seek your God; and we have been sacrificing to Him since the days
of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here."
Ezra 6:21 The sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who
had separated themselves from the impurity of the nations of the land
to join them, to seek the LORD God of Israel, ate the Passover.
Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and
to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Ezra 9:12 'So now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take
their daughters to your sons, and never seek their peace or their
prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land
and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.'
Ezra 10:16 ¶ But the exiles did so. And Ezra the priest selected men
who were heads of fathers' households for each of their father's
households, all of them by name. So they convened on the first day of
the tenth month to investigate the matter.
Esther 10:3 For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus,
and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who
sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his
Job 3:4 "May that day be darkness; Let not God above care for it, Nor
light shine on it.
Job 5:8 "But as for me, I would seek God, And I would place my cause
Job 10:6 That You should seek for my guilt And search after my sin?
Job 39:8 "He explores the mountains for his pasture And searches after
every green thing.
Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
12 For He who requires blood remembers them; He does not forget the
cry of the afflicted.
Psalm 10:4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not
seek Him. All his thoughts are, "There is no God."
13 Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, "You will
not require it."
15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, Seek out his
wickedness until You find none.
Psalm 14:2 The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God.
Psalm 22:26 The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek
Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!
Psalm 24:6 This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your
face-- even Jacob. Selah.
Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me
from all my fears.
10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the
LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.
Psalm 38:12 Those who seek my life lay snares for me; And those who
seek to injure me have threatened destruction, And they devise
treachery all day long.
Psalm 53:2 God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see
if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God.
Psalm 69:32 The humble have seen it and are glad; You who seek God,
let your heart revive.
Psalm 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; In the night my
hand was stretched out without weariness; My soul refused to be
Psalm 78:34 When He killed them, then they sought Him, And returned
and searched diligently for God;
Psalm 105:4 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.
Psalm 109:10 Let his children wander about and beg; And let them seek
sustenance far from their ruined homes.
Psalm 111:2 Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all
who delight in them.
Psalm 119:2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who
seek Him with all their heart.
10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your
45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.
94 I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked, For they do not seek Your
Psalm 142:4 Look to the right and see; For there is no one who regards
me; There is no escape for me; No one cares for my soul.
Proverbs 11:27 He who diligently seeks good seeks favor, But he who
seeks evil, evil will come to him.
Proverbs 31:13 She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in
Ecclesiastes 1:13 And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom
concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task
which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.
Isaiah 8:19 When they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the
spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult their
God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?
Isaiah 9:13 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them,
Nor do they seek the LORD of hosts.
Isaiah 11:10 ¶ Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of
Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting
place will be glorious.
Isaiah 16:5 A throne will even be established in lovingkindness, And a
judge will sit on it in faithfulness in the tent of David; Moreover,
he will seek justice And be prompt in righteousness.
Isaiah 19:3 "Then the spirit of the Egyptians will be demoralized
within them; And I will confound their strategy, So that they will
resort to idols and ghosts of the dead And to mediums and spiritists.
Isaiah 31:1 ¶ Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help And rely on
horses, And trust in chariots because they are many And in horsemen
because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of
Israel, nor seek the LORD!
Isaiah 34:16 Seek from the book of the LORD, and read: Not one of
these will be missing; None will lack its mate. For His mouth has
commanded, And His Spirit has gathered them.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while
He is near.
Isaiah 58:2 "Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways,
As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the
ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight
in the nearness of God.
Isaiah 62:12 And they will call them, "The holy people, The redeemed
of the LORD"; And you will be called, "Sought out, a city not
Isaiah 65:1 ¶ "I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not
ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek
Me. I said, 'Here am I, here am I,' To a nation which did not call on
10 "Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks, And the valley of Achor
a resting place for herds, For My people who seek Me.
Jeremiah 8:2 "They will spread them out to the sun, the moon and to
all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have
served, and which they have gone after and which they have sought, and
which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or buried; they
will be as dung on the face of the ground.
Jeremiah 10:21 For the shepherds have become stupid And have not
sought the LORD; Therefore they have not prospered, And all their
flock is scattered.
Jeremiah 21:2 "Please inquire of the LORD on our behalf, for
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is warring against us; perhaps the LORD
will deal with us according to all His wonderful acts, so that the
enemy will withdraw from us."
Jeremiah 29:7 'Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into
exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will
13 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your
Jeremiah 30:14 'All your lovers have forgotten you, They do not seek
you; For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, With the
punishment of a cruel one, Because your iniquity is great And your
sins are numerous.
17 'For I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your
wounds,' declares the LORD, 'Because they have called you an outcast,
saying: "It is Zion; no one cares for her."'
Jeremiah 37:7 "Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'Thus you are to say
to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: "Behold,
Pharaoh's army which has come out for your assistance is going to
return to its own land of Egypt.
Jeremiah 38:4 Then the officials said to the king, "Now let this man
be put to death, inasmuch as he is discouraging the men of war who are
left in this city and all the people, by speaking such words to them;
for this man is not seeking the well-being of this people but rather
Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the
person who seeks Him.
Ezekiel 14:3 "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their
hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of
their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all?
7 "For anyone of the house of Israel or of the immigrants who stay in
Israel who separates himself from Me, sets up his idols in his heart,
puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and
then comes to the prophet to inquire of Me for himself, I the LORD
will be brought to answer him in My own person.
10 "They will bear the punishment of their iniquity; as the iniquity
of the inquirer is, so the iniquity of the prophet will be,
Ezekiel 20:1 ¶ Now in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the
tenth of the month, certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of
the LORD, and sat before me.
3 "Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them, 'Thus
says the Lord GOD, "Do you come to inquire of Me? As I live," declares
the Lord GOD, "I will not be inquired of by you."'
31 "When you offer your gifts, when you cause your sons to pass
through the fire, you are defiling yourselves with all your idols to
this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I
live," declares the Lord GOD, "I will not be inquired of by you.
40 ¶ "For on My holy mountain, on the high mountain of Israel,"
declares the Lord GOD, "there the whole house of Israel, all of them,
will serve Me in the land; there I will accept them and there I will
seek your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your
Ezekiel 33:6 'But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not
blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and
takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his
blood I will require from the watchman's hand.'
Ezekiel 34:6 "My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every
high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth,
and there was no one to search or seek for them."'"
8 "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock has
become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the
field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My
flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My
10 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I
will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep.
So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver
My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them."'"
11 ¶ For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My
sheep and seek them out.
Ezekiel 36:37 ¶ 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "This also I will let the
house of Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their men like
Hosea 10:12 Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with
kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD
Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.
Amos 5:4 For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel, "Seek Me that
you may live.
5 "But do not resort to Bethel And do not come to Gilgal, Nor cross
over to Beersheba; For Gilgal will certainly go into captivity And
Bethel will come to trouble.
6 "Seek the LORD that you may live, Or He will break forth like a
fire, O house of Joseph, And it will consume with none to quench it
14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; And thus may the LORD
God of hosts be with you, Just as you have said!
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD
require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly
with your God?
Zephaniah 1:6 And those who have turned back from following the LORD,
And those who have not sought the LORD or inquired of Him."