“Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given… the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” (Ezra 7:6a,9-10)

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

In my quiet time I have moved on from Daniel to read through the exilic prophets and writings. Ezra has caught my eye this week. If Daniel’s great depth of spirituality came down to his disciplined prayer life, Ezra’s outstanding spirituality seems to have an equally simple foundation: his devotion to God’s Word. Ezra is a great (x15) grandson of Aaron. His ancestry, heritage and pedigree give him a unique immersion in Scripture. His own diligence, nature, study and practice of God’s Word mean that even King Artaxerxes acknowledges he possesses “the wisdom of your God” (Ezra 7:25). Ezra will stand out later for his fruitful and effective teaching of God’s Word at a crucial time for Israel. From both Daniel and Ezra I have been humbled by comparing my own spirituality to theirs. But I have also been encouraged and refreshed to see that great spirituality is attainable through such simple practices: prayer and Scripture. Lord, teach me.