Monday, April 14, 2008

Ezra's Attitude to His Job

In Ezra 7, there's an interesting incident. Ezra the scribe is sent from Babylonia to the small and struggling community in Jerusalem. Ezra is an expert in the Law of Moses. His official remit is to offer lots of sacrifices and (real reason) to teach the Law and appoint judges, to impose the rule of law, both God's Law and the laws of the Persian empire. For this service, he's allowed to take along lots of gold and stuff.

And this is Ezra's response to his commission:

Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.

Ezra 7:27-28, ESV

Ezra sees his mission primarily as to beautify the house of God. That's interesting. The NIV doesn't get it - it is a bit incongruous after all, and translates it "bring honour to". But Ezra sees his mission, including the teaching and in Ezra 10 the calling the people to repentance, as beautifying the house of God. Now that's an interesting thought.

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