Archive for February 9th, 2018

Ezra appeals to the heads of families, leaders of influence, who he knows will bring others along. In all but one case (Joab v.9) these are descendants of the first returning pioneers to Jerusalem ahead of them from Babylon. Perhaps he appeals to their history and sense of loyalty, but his strategy works and around 1,500 men plus women and children gather by the riverside.

 

Next, he prioritises worship. He identifies that there are no Levites or temple servants to oversee the routines of the Temple. Once again, he carefully chooses his messengers, instructs them in what to say and whom to approach. Again his strategy works and enough are recruited ensuring that life in the house of God is regulated in accordance with the law and worship that is acceptable to God is offered.

 

Even though Ezra operates wisely and thoughtfully he remains consistent in attributing the outcome to God (v.18).  But, they still had to negotiate the perils of the journey and for Ezra this seemed to be the opportunity to test God’s mettle. He didn’t go to the king for an armed escort. Instead, he wanted their safe passage to act as a witness to a God who protects those who look to Him. So, instead they fast and pray and their long, perilous journey is summarised in the words…’and he answered our prayer (v.23). Their testimony was of the protection of God.

 

When Nehemiah was placed in a similar situation he accepted a military escort as part of God’s provision. He exercised faith too. But, on this occasion it would have been easy for Ezra to look to the king rather than the King of kings, Ezra chose to exercise the muscle of faith. It is those times when our lives seem most threatened or at risk, or we find ourselves in situations of acute need, and we choose to pray first and see the hand of our God provide, that we discover His faithfulness is true for us so we build up our own testimony of answers to prayer.

 

Ezra models three principles that can help us in negotiating our challenges in life: wise and strategic thinking, prioritising worship and dedicated prayer and fasting. Sometimes the solution for us is found in thinking through things, perhaps in the company of others, at other times simply by fixing our eyes on Jesus in worship He will fight our battles for us, and still others it’s our heartfelt petitions that break down the door of heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ask your Father in heaven to help you know how to handle the challenges you face.

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