Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Whatever He Says

By Claire Alexander

On June 21, 2006, Belinda described how Jesus’ mother at the wedding in Cana told the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” John 2:5 NIV. I was reading Ezra 7:10 at the time, and suddenly wondered if Mary’s words had an Old Testament link, or Hebrew imperative for her, in the same way that her words give us New Testament authority when hearing a speaker or writer’s words in our hearts.

Sometimes when I read the Psalms, I hear thoughts that are later repeated as echoes on the Cross, and wonder if the Lord Jesus was repeating the Psalms right through from memory, to anchor Him in His agonizing sacrifice.

Now, spending a few days mulling over Ezra, I find his leadership in chapters 7 and 8 pivoting around 7:10, which I memorized years ago in the King James:

“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.” Italicized words, like it, in the King James—“do it”—are absent in the original language—the verb says DO! so I’ll add the Amplified, and a very interesting footnote taken from www.biblegateway.com.

10 For Ezra had [a] prepared and set his heart to seek the Law of the Lord [to inquire for it and of it, to require and yearn for it], and to do and teach in Israel its statutes and its ordinances. AMP

Footnote: Ezra 7:10 God can use mightily one whose whole heart craves a knowledge of Him and His Word like that. Watch Ezra throughout the remainder of his story, as he turns the homes of his nation back from heathendom to God—in the pouring rain! He was not merely righteous, he was "[uncompromisingly] righteous" (I Kings 8:32) . . . AMP.

I wondered why Ezra even noticed that no Levites were present (8:15) among the exiled 3000+ men given permission to leave Babylon and go to Jerusalem—and why it was important at all—but I found that he himself descended from Aaron, and therefore from Levi, and in studying the Torah, knew God’s instructions. Ezra then sent leaders to Casiphia (on Silver Street in Babylon), the college of Levites, and found two large families of men, also descending from Levi, and had them carry the gold and silver utensils back to Jerusalem.

Ezra had a map—a ground plan—that was precise. He not only sought God’s Word, but DID it, and taught it. God had set out the pattern for transporting the parts of the tabernacle—and only the Levites were to carry it; others would die. Ezra knew God’s plan, and he re-established obedience to that Law, so as the exiles set out, they would come to know God’s blessing in place of death.

When Belinda opened up Mary’s command to the servants, I sensed that Mary also communicated the need to listen to the One who authored these truths—maybe she remembered Ezra’s role in changing people’s hearts and patterns of life in exile. I have become lax about a number of scriptural commands I was taught as a child—but I’d like to listen afresh to what the Lord says, and in trusting obedience say “Yes,” and then do it.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for deepening and reinforcing the original message of Mary’s words, through Claire’s added thoughts. Yes, Lord, I echo Claire’s prayer; I want to listen afresh to what you say and do it. Thank you for the depth and beauty of your precious word to us today.

No comments: