Ezra was too embarrassed to ask…
Too embarrassed to ask a king, but never too embarrassed to ask God.
Ezra was the chronicler of old testament kings and a leader of the exiled Israelites on their eventual journey back to Jerusalem, city of David and temple of Solomon to rebuild. Ezra was writing about God’s faithfulness and the people who honored God (and those who didn’t). This helped teach the people of his time all about their history and especially the importance of worshiping God, and LISTENING. This helps teach us too. And Ezra was there when the king of his time was told and shown that God’s Hand was on those blessed chosen traveling Israelites. So now, after being conquered and taken away to the Babylon area (which God allowed because of their disobedience), it was time to travel back and get back to worship. “You as well as these articles are consecrated to the Lord”…
Ezra was afraid to be embarrassed to look like he didn’t trust God. Afraid a king may say “put your money where your mouth is”… I’ve been there, many times, afraid to be embarrassed. Yet, God needs us dependent upon Him, so that we DO take the right steps. Ezra told that king that God’s Hand was on them (and it was), so he was not going to go back to the king to ask for warriors to escort them in safety back to Jerusalem. How do you say “God’s got this” then not TRUST that He actually does? How wishy-washy would it look to human kings and non-believers? This is a lesson in trust and also an urging to ALWAYS go back to God, make prayers of courage and protection. Ask God to get you through. Ask God for help, trust that He will.
Ezra asked for a fast, a serious prayer of humbling oneself, Ezra was from a long line of Israelites descended from Aaron, Moses’s brother and first priest. Ezra asked and looked for some of the Levites to join them, set aside servants of God with skills, God gave them. He looked for provisions, God granted those too. He looked for all his group to depend upon God, he urged and he asked them. Then the ultimate ask: EZRA ASKED GOD FOR SAFE TRAVELS. We too need to humble ourselves – we will find God has a better plan than ones that are not working for us.
Too embarrassed to ask earthly kings, NEVER embarrassed to ask God. God would prefer that we would ASK!
We must ask God, in prayer and a humble spirit of praise: You ARE sovereign God. Our ask is not just for getting us out of something but for getting through something and getting us towards something. We must ASK – and often we will see that God already went ahead, we just needed to trust. “Ye though I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
Ezra said and witnessed to the people: The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.
Think of ourselves as Peter walking upon the water, he trusted Jesus enough for Jesus called to him, he kept his eyes upon Jesus and walked. He shifted his view to the problem over the answer (Jesus is the answer) and Peter started to sink. Where was Jesus? RIGHT THERE, right close to grab Peter as he reached up. Peter physically saw the Hand of God, and God in Jesus said: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?“
Let us today fix our sights on God, let’s ask and believe, let’s trust. Why does God pull us in different ways and sometimes difficult situations? Is it testing us or simply using us to show others that we do indeed trust God. Life is NO picnic without ants, roads DO have bandits, waters ARE choppy. SO, WE MUST DEPEND UPON GOD.
And walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. Walk with the Lord.
Ezra 8:15-32 excerpts
The Return to Jerusalem
When I checked among the people and the priests, I found no Levites there. So I summoned … men of learning, and I ordered them to go to Iddo, the leader in Kasiphia… so that they might bring attendants to us for the house of our God. …
There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 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.” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and HE ANSWERED OUR PRAYER.
Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, namely, Sherebiah, Hashabiah and ten of their brothers, and I weighed out to them the offering of silver and gold and the articles that the king, his advisers, his officials and all Israel present there had donated for the house of our God. I weighed out to them 650 talents of silver, silver articles weighing 100 talents, 100 talents of gold, 20 bowls of gold valued at 1,000 darics, and two fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold.
I said to them, “You as well as these articles are consecrated to the Lord. The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the chambers of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem before the leading priests and the Levites and the family heads of Israel.” Then the priests and Levites received the silver and gold and sacred articles that had been weighed out to be taken to the house of our God in Jerusalem.
On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.