Trusting In The Hand Of God
22 “For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.” Ezra 8:22-23 NKJV
It is challenging to think about Ezra and the faith that he used as he was moving with some Jews and valuables for the Temple back to Jerusalem from exile. While still in captivity he gains permission from the King to move some Jews back to the land of their promise. Read his words as he prepares to depart on this trip, for it is a dangerous one where the valuables they are carrying could easily be taken by robbers along the way.
Ezra had told the King of the greatness, love, goodness, and power of God. How could he then ask the King for an armed escort? It would demonstrate a lack of confidence in the God that he had just spoken of with such faith and reverence. He just told the King that the hand of God was upon them because they served Him and they were His people and that He would be against those who forsook Him.
So even though he was concerned about the valuables that he carried for the Temple, he could not trust in the strength of flesh. He could not put his trust in the armed escort of the King; he had to trust totally in God. Ezra fasted and sought God and he received his answer. When we go down a little further we see in verse 31:
“Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road.”
God did supernaturally protect them all in all the valuables of gold and silver for the Temple. It is an excellent reminder for us to honor Jesus by trusting in Him and His strength to see us through to all the promises He has for us, to seek Him for our journey. It is a reminder to not trust in our own ability but to be satisfied with the assurance of His plan and faithfulness to enforce that plan on our behalf.
J Todd Hostetler