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 devoted himself to three things concerning God's law:
- studying it
- observing it
- teaching it
We grow in our relationship with God as we study the Bible. The word "study" may bring up unhelpful ideas about forcing ourselves to learn things we're not really interested in. If that's what we think of when we hear the word "study" then we're likely to resist the idea of studying God, it would seem counter-productive to a living relationship. But consider some other examples: I like rugby and can tell you a lot of fairly pointless information about my local rugby team. The reason that I have all that knowledge is because I have studied rugby, and that team in particular. I have never sat down with a rugby textbook and forced myself to learn things as if I was facing some sort of test. I have "studied" rugby because I enjoy it and have spent a lot of time watching it, reading about it and talking about it. My enjoyment of rugby has led to the "study" and the "study" has fuelled the enjoyment.
A better example is marraige. I know what my wife likes and doesn't like, I can predict what she will think or say about something, I can describe her personality in detail to someone else. None of this has come from a dry academic "study" but from years of "study" thorugh relationship, through spending time with each other, not because I thought I had to, but because I wanted to.
Like Ezra, we need to devote ourselves to the study of God's word. not just to gain dry knowledge but because we are in a relationship with God and we want to know more of Him. It's no good having the sort of attitude characterised by statements like "God loves me and I love Him, so why do I need to look into it any further" and relying on our own half-baked ideas about what we think God is like. God has revealed himself through the Bible and we need to be "studying" in order for our relationship to grow. Not because we think we should, but because we want to.