August 31: Becoming a Participant

Read Ezra 7:1-28

Historian?  Spectator?  Participant?  Which are you?

Ezra began this book, writing as a historian about events that had taken place decades before.  He wrote about Israelites who returned as part of a first wave of former captives to their homeland in 538.  He was a stickler when it came to details, recounting specific families and numbers from that family that returned.  He wrote about how they began work on the temple and the opposition the workers faced.  He wrote about the seventeen year standstill on temple construction.  He wrote about the influence of Haggai and Zechariah as they inspired people to return to the job site.  He wrote about a king who gave official permission to continue the construction.

All of this happened before Ezra was born.  But he told the story as one who had investigated the details.

Most of us enjoy telling a good story and all of us enjoy hearing one.

But now, in chapter seven, the story moves from a third person account of what others did in days gone by to a first person telling of what God was doing in and through Ezra.  This historian became a participant!

When it comes to what God is doing in this world, which are you?  Are you a historian who can retell the stories of what God has done in the past in and through others?  Are you a spectator who observes from a distance God’s work, but, for whatever reason, you never join in?  Or, are you a participant who rolls up your sleeves and commits to being part of what God is doing?

Ezra was a participant.  I suppose that is no surprise.  After all, look at the kind of person he was:

  • He was committed to studying, obeying, and teaching the Scriptures (v. 10)
  • He was trusted by the king (vv. 15-26)
  • He was able to inspire others (v. 28)

God chose to use him.  And here is where the story turns from “he, she, and they then” to “I, me, and we now.”

Does your account of what God is doing in the world have a humble “I, me, and we now” chapter to it or is it only about other people at other times?


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