September 25, 2017. Ezra 7-10.
These four chapters will be focused on Ezra’s ministry, as a faithful leader and man of faith. He was born a gifted scribe and a descendant priest of Aaron. We read how he brings back the Law of Moses, as he leads the second return of exiles back to their homeland.
Let’s note the sweet picture of God’s grace again towards His people! He uses the pagan King Artaxerxes to accomplish what was to be required next, through the leadership of Ezra.
(Ezra 7:27, 28) Blessed be the LORD God of our father, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem, 28. And has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. So I was encouraged, as the Hand of the LORD my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me.
You may be asking, what steps did Ezra take (better yet-what can we do) to be encouraged by the very Hand of God?
- Ezra was a faithful man of holy devotion.
- Declared a specific time of fasting and praying.
- He trusted God for the journey, and didn’t base the journey on outside help.
- He would seek after Him-The LORD’S hand is upon all those for good.
(Ezra 8:22b, 23) “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 (abandon, disown) Him.” 23. So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.
- Encouraged “freewill” offerings to the LORD.
- Encouraged complete faithfulness.
- Identified sin, and called others to confession and obedience.
- Remained a patient and firm leader that didn’t reject others, even when they were found unfaithful.
- As any good leader-he shared the responsibility, on others behalf.
(Ezra 9:5, 6) At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God. 6. And I said: “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads.
In our longing for answered prayers and The Hand of God to be extended to us-could it be that instead we end up with our very hands spread out and extended, as we fall to our knees in humility, before a Holy God?!?
The LORD desires to answer our prayers, according to His perfect will and purpose!
Won’t you choose today to extend “your hand” out to The righteous Hand of God, as He chooses to show us His grace each new day?