1. Being part of God’s bigger plan
Ezra was part of a bigger plan, made by God and announced through His prophets long before he came on spotlights (Ezra 1:1, 7:7).
2. A divine double confirmation
For his present time also, God sent some other prophets to confirm the fulfilment of the plan and the respective call for the people and their leaders, Ezra included (Ezra 5:1). It was like a visible proof God was leading, and watching careful over them (Ezra 5:5, 6:14). Ezra himself acknowledged that God was with him, leading him and opening doors (Ezra 7:28; see also 9:9).
3. Personal devotion
Ezra is introduced in the Bible as a scribe, with a priestly pedigree, being known as a teacher-leader walking close with God (Ezra 7:6). Before teaching others, he was a well learned man into God’s Word as he “had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it” (Ezra 7:10-11).
As a leader-teacher, his vision was to lead Israel to know God’s will, given in the Law of Moses, “to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10; see also 7:25). He taught the people by reading them the Law of God and explaining it (Nehemiah 8:1-5,8,13).
5. Multiple tasks
Ezra followed the orders of the king concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem and reestablishing of the divine service in the temple (Ezra 7:14-20). Another task to follow is to “appoint magistrates and judges” in the city (Ezra 7:25).
6. Working with leaders, delegating
Ezra scrutinized the people, looking for the right leaders into the service of God – “ministers for the house of our God”, and he deals with Levites, priests, temple servants, leading men, men of insight (Ezra 8:15-20).
Working with leading men, he was delegating some tasks (Ezra 8:24). When facing a crisis that required great care and responsibility in fulfilling a task, he again selected “men, heads of fathers’ houses, according to their fathers’ houses, each of them designated by name” (Ezra 10:16).
His best colleague was another leader sent by God, Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:9, 12:26).
7. Dealing with crisis
When facing a threat – going to a long journey without any defending force – Ezra turned the attention of the people to God. By proclaiming a fasting time, his intention was to have his people humble before God and asking for His leading and protection over the journey (Ezra 8:21-23).
When facing a huge crisis (including a leadership crisis) tantamount to a renewed apostasy – the shocking discovery of faithlessness in the people he led, especially in the “officials and chief men” – Ezra turns again to God by fasting and prayer.
His fasting is detailed in many aspects: tearing of clothes, pulling the hair of the head and beard, refraining from the usual activity up to the evening sacrifice, internal emotional suffering and external weeping. The end of it is an approach through public intercessory prayer in front of the house of God. His prayer includes also several aspects mentioned: the feet are kneeling, “casting himself down” to the ground while the hands are reaching towards the heaven. (Ezra 9:3-6; 10:1). Later, Ezra went into isolation, alone with God, for another night of fasting and mourning (Ezra 10:6). Only after all these he proceeded to taking some drastic measures to combat the slippery slope of apostasy.
8. Leading by example
Ezra led by example. While in prayer, he numbered himself along with the sinful people, talking to God in such a “confession” about “our iniquities”, “our guilt” (Ezra 10:1; 9:6). When worshipping with the choir on the walls, “Ezra the scribe went before them” (Nehemiah 12:36).
9. Giving the message straight
Ezra proclaimed the truth to the people as it was in the Law (Nehemiah 8:2-3,18). It was a very sharp truth to the effect that some had to cut their bonds with unconverted people and even wives coming from the pagan nations around (Ezra 10:10-11; Nehemiah 13:1).
10. Getting followers, opposition and support
When Ezra acted for the glory of God, there was “a very great assembly of men, women and children [who] gathered to him” (Ezra 10:1; 9:4). His prayer was answered as God moved people to acknowledge their guilt, “for all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law” (Ezra 10:2; Nehemiah 8:9, 9:3).
When reading them the Law of God, “all the people answered: Amen, Amen” (Nehemiah 8:6), despite of some opposition (Ezra 10:15). The leader Ezra was encouraged and supported by others, being followed in a new covenant of the people with God (Ezra 10:4-5,12), even a written one (Nehemiah 9:38; 10:29).