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 7:10 NASB
The Old Testament is filled with types of Christ (Messiah) – that is, foreshadowings or prefiguring examples of the great deliverer God promised to send to Israel and all humanity. These types serve not merely to prophesy of Messiah and ultimately confirm Jesus’ identity as this Messiah, but also to fill out our understanding of Jesus and His messianic mission. Ezra is another such type.
Ezra was a priest in ancient Israel. The priests in Israel were the Levites – descendants of Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. The priests were responsible for the temple, all its furnishings and services, and the Scriptures of Moses and the Prophets (what we call the Old Testament). The verse above demonstrates that Ezra was a righteous man by virtue of the three-step formula he followed in life.
The “law of the Lord” studied by Ezra was God’s law as laid down by Moses – that is, those statutes and ordinances for Israel that are found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – the first five books of the Old Testament (and, of course, the Bible).
Ezra “studied” what was written before he “practiced” it. That’s logical enough. What positively distinguished Ezra, however, was that he “practiced” the law before he “taught” it. That is, Ezra practiced what he preached.
Jesus followed this same pattern. For the first thirty years of His life, Jesus studied and practiced the Scriptures the way most humble Jews of His day did. He heard the Scriptures at the synagogue and had them reinforced by His parents at home. We have no record of Jesus doing any “teaching” until He was about thirty years of age.
Jesus did not go to rabbinical school. He was not trained by a famous rabbi in Jerusalem (the site of Israel’s temple). For this reason, the authorities in Jerusalem gave Jesus little respect. Nevertheless, by focusing more on His practice of the Scriptures than on His academic resume, Jesus was able to display a knowledge of the Scriptures and of God that none of His contemporaries could match.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, let us be like You – practicing what we preach. Show me today where my deeds fall short of my words that I might remove any discrepancies. I do not want to be a hypocrite…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.