Tuesday January 19, 2021

Today’s Reading: Ezra 8:21-23

So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He granted our request.

Ezra 8:23

Reflection: God hears those who honor Him. We see how adamantly the prophet Ezra chooses to step forward into vulnerable places while trusting in the LORD God. At this time in history, God’s people are exiles living in captivity in Babylon. By a miraculous movement of God’s Hand, they have received approval from King Artaxerxes of Babylon to return to Jerusalem to rebuild God’s Holy Temple. Ezra has been appointed by God to lead this mission, and has not only been given the Babylonian King’s consent to leave, but also whatever resources and materials are needed to complete the Temple’s restoration. But Ezra is mindful of the testimony of faith he had declared to Artaxerxes before leaving for the journey: “The hand of our God is gracious to all who seek Him, but His great anger is against all who abandon Him.” Leading his people on a long journey through other nations without guards or infantry is dangerous, but Ezra would rather honor God in decisions that correspond with the faith he has so boldly proclaimed to the king. And so, he leads the people in prayer to God for His direct protection, choosing to walk in faith in spite of the resources that were available to them. And God is faithful to grant His people safety for the entire journey.

Walking in faith requires us to see God do wonderful things in the unknown. Walking in faith does not test what God can do, but rather obeys what God directs us to do. Ezra trusts that the LORD has directed him to lead the rebuilding of the Temple (a very daunting task), and is mindful to go about this work in a way that honors Him. Even when doing God’s Work, we can easily be swayed towards easily accessible resources that compromise our testimony about God. But when we choose to walk in ways that honor God, He always responds in faithfulness that equips us to give Him glory. It is in the moments that we choose to honor God through our obedience to Him that He makes known His Divine providence and faithfulness.

Prayer: Loving God, thank You for Your continual providence upon me, and Your steadfast faithfulness. Thank You for all Your works which remind me of how good You are to keep Your promises. Guard me from forgetting Your great Power and Love. Please guide me, Lord, in all Your ways, and grant me the diligence to walk in faith in You at all times. I pray all of these things in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, AMEN.

Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Biblestudytools.com): 3 John 1; Ezra 7-8; Psalm 94