Prepared Hearts

"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." (Ezra 7:10)

It does not come naturally into our hearts to seek, obey, and then teach others the words of God as found in the Scriptures. Therefore, like Ezra, we must prepare our hearts.

The Hebrew word for "prepare" means to "stand erect," and thus takes special effort. One's natural "heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9), not at all inclined to "stand up" for the Word of God.

But Ezra did, even in the court of a pagan king and in the midst of the enemies of God's people in a far country, and even among the backslidden people of his own nation. He prepared his heart, fixing it in firm faith on the laws and promises of God. And because he did, he could testify: "I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me" (Ezra 7:28).

On the other hand we read, for example, of King Rehoboam whose rebellion and sin led to the dividing of Israel into two kingdoms and eventually into the captivity. These judgments came because, unlike Ezra, Rehoboam "did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD" (2 Chronicles 12:14).

Thus, our hearts need to be prepared to seek God and His Word, but how do we get them prepared? First, we must come to Him in true humility. "LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear" (Psalm 10:17).

God is then the One who actually prepares our hearts! "The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD" (Proverbs 16:1). We can only prepare our hearts to seek and serve God if we humbly call on Him to do the preparing. HMM

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