A PREPARED HEART (II)
Prepared to do. In the second place, Ezra was not seeking the law of God merely out of interest, or a desire for self-promotion, or some vestigial loyalty to antiquated tradition: he sought out God’s law that he might apply it in his life, to obey and “do it.” Following his example, then, we must take care that our heart is prepared to seek God’s law, with the right motive.
We know of some who appear to seek God’s law, yet with no more pressing motive than idle curiosity. Such were the Athenians, who actively sought out Paul’s teaching, but whose only interest in his doctrine was its newness (Acts 17:16-21). Contrast the Bereans, who “received” the apostolic teaching “with all readiness of mind” (Acts 17:11)! This “readiness of mind” was for the doing, not the dissecting, of God’s Word.
We know of some, also, who study and acquire a vast technical knowledge of God’s law, with no actual profit to themselves or others. Such were the Pharisees, whose vaunted familiarity with the texts of the Old Testament was vitiated by their shallow appreciation of its real spiritual importance. They knew from whence the consolation of Israel was to come (Matt 2:4- 6), but would not lift an eyelid to look for Him, and could not see Him when He stood before them. Thus the Lord dismantled their expertise with the simple question, “Have ye not read?” (Matt 12:3; 12:5; 19:4; 21:16; 22:31, etc.) ‒ what a rebuke to their pride and self-conceit!
Dear reader, we have no desire to discourage curiosity in spiritual matters, nor to disparage theological credentials in and of themselves: nevertheless, these things are not sufficient. If you are seeking God’s law, well; but what is your reason? To what end do you seek it? Let no false motive colour or corrupt your quest. Be warned that there is only one true purpose for which God’s will is to be sought ‒ that we may yield ourselves in full surrender to obey it. A heart that is prepared to seek, without being prepared to do, is a heart that is self-deceived (cf. James 1:22).
THOUGHT: Do I study God’s Word in order to do it?
PRAYER: (Use Psalm 119:5.)