Ezra the prophet enjoyed the favor of the Persian King Artaxerxes. The king had placed satraps and governors over Jerusalem, but he wrote a letter to them stating that he was allowing Ezra to lead a delegation back to the city to rebuild the temple. He realized he needed to show some respect to the powerful God of the Israelites because he said, “Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it diligently be done for the house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?” (Ezra 7:23, NKJ) Not only did Artaxerxes give his permission, but he also provided supplies and money from his own treasuries to finance the project.
Ezra realized that the favor of this foreign king had come his way thanks to “the good hand of God” Ezra 7:9 and 8:18. He also realized that his deportment was a witness to this king. After all the riches were accumulated, Ezra and his group had to get it all to Jerusalem, but it would be a treacherous journey because of the possibility of ambushes along the roads. Ezra faced a dilemma.
- Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “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 Him.” So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer. Ezra 8:21-23
Ezra had done all this big talking to the king about how great his God was. He had so convinced the king that the man had put his own money toward a project that would honor the God he didn’t even serve. For Ezra to then turn around and request protection would be a boldfaced denial of all he had claimed God could do.
If we say our God is a powerful protector, we had better be about the business of leaning on Him when we are threatened. It is a witness to the world when we live out what we claim. Our dependence upon Him gives God the opportunity to show Himself strong. Worship God today for being our protector.
©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,
Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children
available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),
at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.
Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk
Also still available:
Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame
from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)