Thursday, August 10, 2023

Ezra’s Conduct Brought Honor to Jehovah (Modified Talk)

As our heavenly parent, Jehovah is worthy of all due honor. Just as we honor our earthly parents, so we should accord Jehovah the honor that he deserves. This is why from time to time, it is good to ask ourselves whether our conduct honors Jehovah.

Ezra 7:6 calls Ezra, "a copyist who was well-versed in the Law of Moses." He was skilled in his assignment and took it seriously: the biblical accounts about Ezra teach us that he loved God's word. Please notice what Ezra 7:10 states.

Note the three reasons why Ezra prepared his heart: in order to study, to make personal application, and to teach Jehovah's law. 

How can we imitate his example? It is important not only to read the Bible, but we need to study God's Word, and think deeply about what we read. That includes meditating on the application of Bible principles. This is one way that our conduct can honor Jehovah.

However, recall that the third reason Ezra prepared his heart was so he could teach others about God. Ezra 7:25 bring out a similar point.

(After reading)

Ezra was a wise man because he listened to Jehovah's law and had God's holy spirit. 
The Persian world-ruler recognized godly wisdom in Ezra and commissioned him with broad civil powers within the juridical domain of Judah. (Ezra 7:12-26) Ezra was thus equipped with authority from Jehovah and the Persian king, and this enabled him to teach others. 

Hence, another way that we can honor Jehovah like Ezra did, is by teaching others, whether in the field ministry or by communicating divine wisdom in the congregation. We can only accomplish this task through Jehovah's powerful spirit.

Yet, out of all the qualities that we might possess, there is one quality that we must have in order for Jehovah to use us fully. Turn with me to Ezra 8:21-23 and notice how he set an example for those who want to honor Jehovah.

Read Ezra 8:21-23.

Ezra humbled himself before Jehovah. The Insight book states: "One who humbles himself before God can expect to have God’s guidance."

Think about the heavy responsibility that Ezra had: he led numerous Israelites back from Babylon while they carried gold and silver to rebuild the temple. Although they needed protection for this journey, Ezra did not want to ask the king of Persia for a military escort because it would have shown reliance on military might instead of Jehovah. So Ezra proclaimed a fast instead to make the Israelites humble themselves before Jehovah. As a result of their humble reliance on God, they completed the hazardous trip from Babylon to Jerusalem successfully, all to the honor of Jehovah.

[Discuss picture of brother being commended by his employer]

Closing question: 
Ask Yourself: ‘Do unbelievers respect me for my godly conduct?’

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