The Expository Files


A Prepared Heart

Ezra 7:10

The Scriptures say, “And Ezra prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” (Ezra 7:10). This verse is actually a summary of Ezra’s life and purpose. He was determined to fully accept the Lord’s direction in life. This desire came from deep conviction and reverence for God. This led Ezra to seek out the Lord’s will in His revealed Word, the Scriptures.

Some complain that the Lord’s will is too difficult to understand. But others, like Ezra, have had no problem in understanding it. There is a whole list of just plain, regular folks in Rom. 16 who all understood it quite well. Timothy is said to have understood it from a child.

The fact is, Jesus said that some would never understand. But it was not because of a lack of ability but rather a lack of will. They have unprepared hearts. To understand, Jesus insisted that one must desire to have God in his or her life. He or she must be willing to open eyes, ears and heart.

The parable of the sower sowing seed is a case in point, well illustrating how important it is for us to prepare our hearts to understand and receive the words of Christ (Matt. 13:3-9; 18-23). One who is unwilling will often complain it is just too difficult to understand, but Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15).

In dealing with a rebellious people, the Lord chose Isaiah to be His prophet. Through Isaiah, Jehovah charged, “I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not hear.” (Isa. 65:12). These people had turned their backs on God, and the more alienated they became the more their nation’s problems grew until finally their nation fell.

They did not answer God’s call. It is important for us to understand that God still calls today; not through prophets like Isaiah but through the gospel of Jesus Christ, His Son. The Scriptures affirm that God “called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 2:14). Answering this call means bringing our lives into harmony with the teachings of the gospel; to “walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thess. 2:12).

We do not know what the future holds for our own nation today. We can continue to ignore God’s call and slide into tragic defeat just the way Isaiah’s people did long ago. Or, we can remember our foundation and reclaim it. Though none of us as individuals can decide for our nation, we each can decide for ourselves to answer the call of God. Prepare your heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to share with others the Lord's statutes and judgments.

By Jon W. Quinn
The Final Page
From Expository Files 13.3; March 2006