Ezra 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we mighthumble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. 22For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.
Ezra was an amazing man. He was a priest descended from Aaron and he had a passion for God, his word and sharing it with others. I know I would have liked this guy, but he got himself in a situation where he had to live out what he had told the king. He had to trust God because he had told the king that God would watch over him. Now, facing the trip back to Jerusalem, he is keenly aware of both his statement to the king and the dangers that lay ahead. This trip would travel the major trade routes of the day. Along these routes were pirates and thieves waiting to steal from anyone who didn’t have armed forces to protect them. It was a dangerous thing to travel in that day. Everyone knew that. But Ezra had told the king that God would watch over those who seek him so he had a decision- go back on his words about God or trust him.
Ezra decided that what he knew about God was too important to trust man, so they fasted, they prayed and off they went into the lion’s den this journey would be. No army to protect them, no swords to defend them, just a faith in God. Because of their faith they arrived safely in Jerusalem with their treasures of gold and silver untouched by thieves.
I wonder what the bandits and thieves saw as this troop of Jewish travelers passed them on the road. Did they see an army? Did God hide them from the view of those waiting to pounce on them? I don’t know, but what is known is that Ezra spoke of his trust in God and had to live that trust out in a very dangerous place. I love what Ezra did, he verbalized what he believed and that testimony was his benchmark for how he then had to live out the journey ahead. He was too embarrassed to go to the king and ask for troops to protect them because he said God would protect them.
What do I verbalize about God that then convicts me to live it out? Does my faith in him give words to my beliefs? Do I trust him enough to tell others what I believe and live it out? What a great example of a testimony lived out, to a faith walked through. This simple story challenges me to verbalize what I believe about God. Do I really trust God enough to talk about what I believe and then live it out even when its dangerous? I wonder.
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