“I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from the enemies on the road, because we had told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’ So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” Ezra 8:22-23.
Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ezra 7-8, and Luke 20.
Talk is cheap!
Ezra had told King Artaxerxes that God takes care of those who look to Him.
Remarkably, the king is willing to do anything that he can to help Ezra return to Jerusalem and get the temple there rebuilt.
One of the parts of the king’s help is financial. The money given to Ezra is enormous.
All and good so far as Ezra contemplates the trip from Babylonia back to Jerusalem. Then the thought comes to Ezra that all the valuables that they are bringing from Babylonia to Jerusalem would necessitate some serious security.
BUT Ezra will not ask King Artaxerxes for protection. Why? Ezra had bragged about what God does for His own. To ask for the king’s help would suggest that God couldn’t be counted on for protection.
One of the great parts of this story is what Ezra and the others did BEFORE they decided to travel without the king’s protection: They fasted and petitioned God.
And God got them to Jerusalem safely.
We easily say that God is in charge. God can do anything. But will we live that way when opportunities come along for us to back up those beliefs? Ezra is a wonderful role model.
“Lord, You are over everything. You know what is best for me. Guide me there, I beg. Prick my conscience when I am trusting counterfeit gods, so that I will stop doing that. Thank You for Ezra’s example of trusting You.”
The god of our crunch-time crises is our real god.