Ezra 8:21 Seeking God’s Protection

Girl on forest road

There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. Ezra 8:21 

Traveling a long distance can be stressful for some people. There is a lot that can occur on the trip. This becomes especially true when there are many different roads to turn on, or flight changes, or bus changes, depending on how one travels.

Fear of missing a transfer or a turn can rise up in a person. Along with those fears, one can fear a breakdown of the vehicle, or danger of other drivers. If one is traveling through an area that is also dangerous, it can raise fears or concerns.

People want to be safe and know that they can make the trip safely with no problems. They seek out the best routes to travel to be safe. They find the best methods to travel.

Ezra was traveling back to Jerusalem with a large number of people to settle there. On the road back to Jerusalem, there could be some problems, so he and the people fasted, humbling themselves, and put themselves into God’s hand for protection. They trusted God’s protection, rather than seek the king’s protection.

While people do go physically traveling a lot, there is one trip that every person is making–life. Traveling through life can reveal a lot of dangers, especially for the believer. The world does not want the believer to be successful in traveling through this life into eternity.

There are the normal dangers of injury, setbacks, breakdowns, and sickness, but with the believer there can also be dangers of persecution and ridicule. The believer must be ready for anything.

The best way to be ready for the trip through this life is trusting in God. Allowing God to provide the needed protection as needed and when needed.

You are not in a position that you can make the trip without any problems along the way. You cannot provide all the needed protection, only God can do that.

Instead of trusting people and the things of this world to get you through this journey of life, humble yourself and put your trust in God. Only God can protect you, your family and your things through this life into eternity.

Know that God will bring you safe to the other side, if you trust Him.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will trust God’s protection in your life; that you will travel the path God has for you in this life; and that you will see God’s hand of protection daily. 

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Ezra 10:6 Weeping For Others

Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. Ezra 10:6

The Israelites who had gone back to rebuild the temple, had turned away from God’s laws and began to marry those of the foreign nations. Ezra was disturbed by their actions and wept before God for their unfaithfulness. He, himself, had not done anything wrong, but was weeping over the fact that the people had been unfaithful to God and did what was forbidden.

It is easy for a person to see the sins of other people. Christians are always talking about the sins of the nation they live in or the other people in their church. They, then, want to enact laws to change the ability to sin. Or they complain about what other people are doing or are allowed to do.

Ezra did not complain about the sins of the people, but wept and fasted over them before God. He admitted the guilt of himself and the people to God. Ezra was not guilty of the things that the other people were guilty of, yet he was willing to mourn before God about the sins being committed.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem as He looked at their sins that the followers of God were committing against God. He did not just condemn them and point out sins. He allowed God to work in their lives by His Holy Spirit, while doing everything that He could do.

As a believer, you can point out God’s word to other people and strive to point them in the right direction, but you cannot change their hearts. Only God can change a person’s heart and draw them back to Himself.

When you see the sins that other believers are committing, how are you reacting?

Do you condemn them and gossip to others about their sins?

Or do you go before God with weeping and fasting for those who have walked away from God into sin?

I pray that God will soften your heart for those who have walked away from God; that you will seek God to touch the lives of fallen believers; that you will remain faithful to God; and that God will use you to draw others back to Him.

 

Ezra 9:12 Do Not Marry The World

Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance. Ezra 9:12

As the Israelites were rebuilding the temple and Jerusalem, some of them started marrying the people of the land. The Law of Moses had stated that they were not to marry any of the foreign people. Ezra bowed before God in repentance for the people and then told them not to marry or seek any treaty with the foreign people. They were to serve God alone.

Until about the 1990’s, interracial marriage was frowned upon as a whole in America. Although it did happen prior to that time, many did not agree with it. Today, as a whole it is acceptable by most people.

Even though there is nothing wrong with interracial marriage, there is a type of marriage that many people have that goes against God. It is the marrying oneself to the world and its ways.

There are believers who have chosen to live in sin while claiming to love Jesus. They choose to act and speak the way that the world acts and speaks. They have given in to the ways that the world does things and not followed the ways of God.

Every believer in Jesus is to be married to Jesus and Jesus alone. As a believer you are the bride of Jesus. Some day in heaven there will be a marriage supper for you and Jesus.

Since you are married to Jesus, you must not go and marry the world also. Do not seek to have a treaty with the world. You are separate from the world. This world is not your home or your heritage.

Consecrate your marriage to Jesus. Allow Jesus to remove the sin in your life. Seek God and His ways and have an abundant life, rather than seeking the world and finding death. Remain married to Jesus alone.

I pray today that you will dedicate your life to Jesus; that you will turn away from the ways of this world; that you will not seek friendship with the world; that you will find all of your value in Jesus alone; and that you will be a witness for Jesus.

Ezra 8:22 Acting In Trust

I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from 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.” Ezra 8:22

The king of Persia gave Ezra money and permission to take some people with him to go and build the temple of God. The journey home would take them on long deserted roads, where many bandits would be found. He chose not to ask the king for protection on the road, because he had already told him that God would protect them. Ezra stepped out in faith trusting God.

It is very easy for people to believe something, but it is more difficult to actually act out in that belief. There was a story told about a tightrope walker who walked across a rope high off the ground with a wheel barrow several times. All the people loved seeing it and saw that he was good. Then he asked if anyone would be willing to ride in the wheel barrow with him going across the rope. No one would do it.

Many believers say that they trust God and believe all of His words. However, very few will actually step out and act in faith upon those words. Most will have some type of back-up plan available, or a ‘just in case’ plan set up.

As you are going through life, there will come times when your faith in God will be challenged. You will have to choose to either follow God by stepping out in faith, or you will have to back down and do things your own way or the way of the world.

Ezra could have easily asked the king for protection, and would have been seen as wise in doing so. He did not, because he already made a statement of trusting God for protection.

Who are you trusting today? God? Or this world?

Now are you willing to step out in faith, trusting God and His word to you?

I pray today that you will know God’s words to you; that you will trust God’s word to you; that you will act upon what you believe in God; and that you will seek God and His protection for your life.

Ezra 7:10 Devoted To God’s Word

For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. Ezra 7:10

The new king of Persia, Artaxerxes, had provided Ezra with everything needed to build the temple and offer the required sacrifices. He also made a law that everyone had to worship God correctly. All these things were done because Ezra was dedicated to knowing, following and teaching God’s Word correctly.

Devotion is what makes the difference between someone being good at something or being great at it. There are many men that love to play football or golf, but only part-time. They like to play them once in a while on the weekends, but not every day, all day.

They can play the game, but not very well. Those who become professional at it or good enough to win small local tournaments, are devoted to the game. They practice daily, constantly learning how to improve their play.

The majority of believers in the church only open their Bible on Sunday morning as the pastor speaks. Then there are a few who read a few Bible verses each day. Even less, are those who are devoted to God’s Word. Those few study God’s Word daily, apply it to their lives, and tell others what it says.

Being devoted to God’s Word, means that you take time to study it fully to understand it. You then work to apply what you have learned from God’s Word to your own life. Once you have done these things, then you must tell others what you have learned.

Stopping short in any of these areas, keeps you from being devoted to God’s Word.

When you are not devoted to God’s Word, you will miss out on what God has for you. You will also cause others to miss what God has for them. Ultimately you will slow down or stop building God’s kingdom on this earth, which is the whole purpose of when Jesus came to this earth.

Take a look at your life. Are you devoted to God’s Word?

Or are you just a part-time partaker of God’s Word?

Do not make God’s Word just a temporary part of your life.

I pray today that God will give you a love for His Word; that God will open your eyes to His Word; that you will obey God’s Word; and that you will share God’s Word with others.

Ezra 6:22 Celebrate With Joy

For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the LORD had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel. Ezra 6:22

After receiving some opposition to the building of the temple of God in Jerusalem, the people had received permission to continue building from the king. Once the temple was finished being built, they celebrated for seven days. They were filled with joy because they knew that it was God who had changed the mind of the Assyrian king. Not only did the king allow them to build the temple, he also assisted them by providing many of the supplies needed.

Most people celebrate with joy about difficult things that they have accomplished. Very few people will not celebrate a great accomplishment. The world, however, celebrates it because of what they have done. Self is often looked at as the one who had accomplished everything and deserved to be able to finish it.

Others will often look at it as being very lucky that everything went in their favor.

Believers in Jesus, should be like the Israelites, in knowing that it was God who had given them the ability to finish the project. It was God who had changed the mind of the enemy to give them favor in finishing the building project.

As a believer you must keep yourself to the back. Realize that it is God who is at work in and through you. It is only by God’s power that you can do anything. When a difficult time presents itself in the midst of doing something for God, it is God who provides the way to keep going. Do not be like the world and take the credit.

When you are finished with doing God’s will, celebrate with praise the work that God helped you to do. Celebrate that it was God who cleared all the obstacles in the way to being able to finish. It is God who is in control, not you nor the world.

Who are you celebrating?

God? Or yourself?

God? Or this world?

I pray today that you will see God’s hand at work in your life; that you will know God’s power over this world; that you will see God’s favor in your life; that you will give God praise for His work; and that you will celebrate God’s work, not yours or this world.