Three times we’ve read the statement that “The hand of the Lord His God was on him” concerning Ezra. Three times we’ve read about his commitment to study God’s word, to practice it in all areas of his life, and to teach it to all Israel. Even the King of Persia, when he wrote to Ezra, addressed him as the one who was “well versed in the words of His God.” The Persian King gave Ezra gold, silver, precious stones and all the people and Priests and Levites to take with him back to Jerusalem to rebuild the worship place of the God of all the heavens and earth.

This great success moved Ezra to an exclamation of praise! Chapter seven closes with “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.”

Having shifted to the first person, the text concludes, “I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me…” It’s hard not to remember God’s promise to Joshua that he would find success in all he lays his hand to if he gives first priority to God’s Word in his life.

Eleanor Schmidt sent this to the Reader’s Digest: My doctor had recommended surgery and referred me to a specialist.  Arriving early for my appointment, I found the door unlocked and the young surgeon, deeply engrossed in reading, behind the receptionist’s desk.  When he didn’t hear me come in, I cleared my throat.  Startled, he closed the book, which I recognized as a Bible.  “?Does reading the Bible help you before or after an operation??” I asked.  My fears were dispelled by his soft, one-word answer: “?During.?”

Want success in 2010?

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”  Revelation 2:4 (NLT)