God Wants Your Heart
"For Ezra had 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)
God’s people were not doing well. They had fallen into sin and were facing many enemies. They were discouraged and needed help. And so God sent a man named Ezra to help His people. (Ezra's name actually means “to help.”) Why did God choose to use Ezra in such a great way? Maybe the reason is found in Ezra 7:10 – “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”
The word “prepared” tells us that sometime in Ezra’s life, probably when he was a boy, he decided something about the direction in life – he “set his heart.” Did you know that it is never too early to purpose in your heart that you want to serve the Lord? Most missionaries around the world gave their lives to Christ when they were young people.
But what did Ezra “prepare his heart” to do? He decided to do three things. First, he wanted to “seek the law of the Lord.” That means that he wanted to become an expert at knowing the Word of God! Have you ever decided to become an expert at something? Jason and Evan spent a lot of time playing a game called foosball or table soccer. They liked to team up and try to win against the teenagers, often making the older boys feel very silly to have been beaten by 10-year-olds. Jason and Evan had decided to become experts at foosball, and they did it!
Sports and games can be great fun and good exercise. But think how much better it must be for a young person to decide that the most important goal is to be an "expert" at trusting and obeying God’s Word? There is nothing more worthwhile than that!
Secondly, Ezra decided to do the Word of God. Whenever God said something, Ezra wanted to obey right away. Have you ever met a picky eater? (Hopefully you are not one yourself!) Some kids will poke at their food and say, “I don’t want peas” or “I don’t like spinach.” They do not want their food, even though it is good for them. Some people like to be picky about God’s Word. They say, “I don’t want to do that command” or “I don’t like this.” God is not pleased when we are "picky eaters" of His Word.
Lastly, Ezra decided “to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” This means that Ezra decided early in life that he wanted to teach others about the Word of God. Maybe God would allow you to teach people the Word of God someday!
God wants your heart.
» Does God have my whole heart?
» Am I letting other things in my life become too important to me?
» Do I really trust and obey ALL of God's Word, not just the parts I like?
Truth In Real Life
“I esteem it the duty of every Christian to seek the advancement of the cause of Christ more truly than they are wont to their own favorite objects.”
Marcus Whitman, who became a famous pioneering medical missionary, was born in New York on September 4, 1802. He was just 7 years old when his father died. Whitman wanted to become a doctor and a missionary. Unable to decide between the two, he chose both! He felt called of God to go to the West – states such as Montana and Idaho were just being developed – and he wanted to take the Gospel to those who had never heard.
One weekend, he met a woman named Narcissa Prentiss who wanted to travel to the West as a missionary but was unable to go because she was single. He agreed to marry her that weekend – and together, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman became one of the most famous missionary teams in history.
In 1836, the Whitmans, along with a group of other missionaries, joined a caravan of fur traders traveling to the West. They traveled farther west than any American group had traveled before, setting up several Christian missions and sharing the Gospel as they went.
Whitman built missions, led Christian meetings, and served as a doctor. Narcissa ran her household, helped her husband, and taught school. Along with being used by God to share the Gospel, the Whimans became famous for leading the first party of wagon trains along the Oregon Trail. Thousands of immigrants followed in their footsteps to make the West what it is today.
Sadly, the Whitmans and their motives were misunderstood. They ended up being killed by the same people they had desired to help and tried so hard to reach. But God used them to spread His Gospel and to encourage pioneer missionary workers in the future.
Courage can be contagious. Do you have the courage to serve God and to do what it takes to advance His cause? Do you think His Gospel is worth giving your life to share?
Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.