Ezra the teacher of the Law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam.‘ NIV

First, a general comment on what we have looked at thus far in chapter 8. It comes from F.B.Meyer, and his book ‘Devotional Commentary’, pages 206, 207: ‘Surely this was the first public Bible-reading! When will the people be again as hungry for the Word of God as those Jews who stood in the open space from early dawn till the scorching noon?’

But then more specifically on verse 4, I note that Ezra is the big name; one of the names to go down in Biblical history. However, to his right and left there were other people alongside him. Their names are not necessarily well-known, but I want to say it takes a team. It seems to me that the kind of leadership we see repeatedly in the pages of the Bible is mainly of the shared variety. You can think of ‘famous’ pastors of widely-known churches across the world today, and I can pretty much guarantee you this: the ‘success’ of such churches will be partly because of a whole lot of other effective and faithful people who never get the limelight, but they are happy to serve. That is not to diminish the part played by the strongly gifted senior leader, but they could not do what they do alone.PRAYER: Lord, we praise you for all who lead in your church. Some are given a high profile, but many are not. However, may they all glorify you in humble service, and desire only ‘to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds..to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that they do your will.