25 Jan

Lessons in the Kingdom from Ezra 7:1-10 (Part 1 of 2)

Taken from the intimation sheet: 25 January 2015

Ezra 7:1 After these things, during the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2 the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4 the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest- 6 this Ezra came up from Babylon.

Those of us who have accepted Wade’s challenge to read through the Bible in a year will soon come across genealogies like the one in Ezra 7:1-5. The temptation when we face long lists of tough-to-read names, is to skip or to skim them.

Tempting, but all Scripture is God-breathed, there are sometimes amazing truths and treasures buried in these lists (none more so than the family line of Jesus of course.)

The very least that we should learn, is that where we come from as people matters. As 21st century Westerners we usually think of ourselves in very individualistic terms, but the Bible reminds us that community and family heritage matter, they shape us.

Ezra is writing this chapter of his own book, and before he chooses to introduces himself, he introduces his family tree. Why? Because he appreciates he is only in a position to serve because of the family that have gone before him. He couldn’t be a priest and he wouldn’t be a scribe, were it not for them.

Let me put it like this; Ezra was a child of God, from the family of God. He appreciated the importance of those who had gone before.

There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman in the Kingdom of God. Ezra would not have been ready to step onto the scene were it not for those people who had prepared the way for him.

Isn’t the same true for us?

We would know none of the blessings we enjoy in Jesus, were it not for faithful saints down through the ages who suffered and served to pass the gospel on to the next generation. Some of us have Christian parents or grandparents who raised us in the light of God’s word and ways. Many of us were brought up in church families where we were loved and taught and prayed for from infancy. All of us had someone who told us about Jesus.

Take some time this week to thank the Lord for some of the people who came before you. Give thanks for your spiritual forefathers, for godly relatives, for pastors, Sunday School leaders, mature believers who came alongside to encourage and disciple. For all those who prepared the way for you to lay hold of the blessings you have found in Christ.

You are not a self-made man or woman of God, the Lord in his grace used others to prepare the way for you to take your place and play your part in his Kingdom. Give thanks!

Yours in His service
Ross