These mornings sure are a bit darker and cooler as time marches on and reminds us autumn will soon be arriving! We continued on beginning the week with reading Ezra 7:11-20.
Here we find the king’s letter to Ezra, in which he releases the people to go up to Jerusalem to complete the work on the Temple. He also permitted a collection to be made, and funds to be released from the royal treasury, so they would return with all they needed to fund the completion.
“The letter provided by the king to Ezra is essential, as it ensures two primary physical factors for the mission: safety and finances.” (from The Dwelling Place of God, page 44)
God can move the hearts of even those who are unbelievers, and in the secular world, to do His work. The reading reminded us to never limit our God. He can work and provide as He deems best.
The king recognized there was something different about Ezra:
“King Artaxerses had given a copy of the following letter to Ezra, the priest and scribe who studied and taught the commands and decrees of the Lord to Israel” (verse 11, NLT).
It was Ezra’s character and faithfulness to do what God had called him to do which stood out to the King.
Would secular sources, unbelievers, see you as kind, gentle, loving, merciful, generous, loyal, and godly?
Our character often speaks more than our words.
In Ezra 7:25-28, we find the king instructing Ezra to teach God’s laws and govern the area occupied by the Jews in accordance with God’s laws and the law of the king.
Ezra’s response is to praise the Lord for several reasons:
it was God who made the king want to beautiful the Temple.
for demonstrating unfailing love to Ezra
for His gracious hand which was upon Ezra
There is no doubt that ministry is hard work. It is endless and often thankless. But it is more needed than ever.
The study asks if you have ever felt overwhelmed by a project in ministry? How did you react?
Let’s be like Ezra this morning and give praise to the Lord. I’ll start – I praise Him for His faithfulness, for His protection, for His sweet Presence in my life each day.
Ezra went so far as to “order” the people to do so. He also gave them the specifics of their fast. They were to pray for:
- a safe journey, and
- protection for themselves, their children, and their goods.
Ezra recognized that he had already proclaimed God’s abilities to the king, and so to ask for his help now would make it appear he doubted God. My Bible commentary shares this quote:
“It is God who gives our prayer its value and its character, not our interior dispositions, not our fervor, not our lucidity.”
(Key Word Commentary, page 409)
“So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” (Ezra 8:23, NLT)
When we are feeling overwhelmed,
may we earnestly pray with the assurance –
God hears our every word.
*** You can find the full study, The Dwelling Place of God, HERE.