Ezra 7:1-6 and The Secret to Success

building-second-temple-eventsThere are many different people who will all to readily share what they believe to be the secret to success. There are many different preachers on television who are convinced they know the secret to success. I believe the key, the real secret to success, is contained within the Book of Ezra. Here is the secret:

After this, in the rule of Persia’s King Artaxerxes, Ezra son of Seraiah son of Azariah son of Hilkiah  son of Shallum son of Zadok son of Ahitub  son of Amariah son of Azariah son of Meraioth  son of Zerahiah son of Uzzi son of Bukki  son of Abishua son of Phinehas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the chief priest—  this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the Instruction from Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. Moreover, the king gave him everything he requested because the Lord his God’s power was with him.

This tells a lot about Ezra. First, he was descended from the right people–he was from the right family. He was qualified by his ancestors to be a high priest since he was a direct descendant of Aaron. Second, he knew the right things–skilled in the Law of Moses. He had the right background and the right knowledge. Yet neither of these two things were what made Ezra stand out. There were other priests who returned to the Holy Land after the exile and there were others who were well versed in the Torah. Yet we have a biblical book named after Ezra.

The secret to success was that the Lord’s power was with Ezra. In 7:10 it is written, “Ezra had determined to study and perform the Lord’s Instruction, and to teach law and justice in Israel.” Ezra took time in his life to study Scripture, and through that commitment, he had a close relationship with the Lord that resulted in God’s power flowing through him. It was not the people to whom Ezra was related or the teaching that he knew, per se, that made him a success. It was the fact that he knew the Lord, and therefore the Lord’s power was in him.

It should also be noted that success in this case does not mean health, wealth, and happiness. On the contrary, both Ezra and Nehemiah try to lead a rebellious people in the face of severe opposition, and have to continually appeal to the Lord to remember what they have done in service to God. No, success is performing the will of the Lord and accomplishing the task God has placed before him.

Essentially, the secret to success revolves around God. If we have a relationship with God so that the power of the Lord is in us, then we can accomplish the task that the Lord has placed before us. It all begins with God.