Today’s Reading: Ezra 8:21-9:15 (additional reading Psalm 31:1-8 and Proverbs 21:1-2)
Have you ever been put on the spot for God? In today’s reading, there is an example of how Ezra and the people of the 5th century BC dealt with this, and how they solved it.
Ezra has about 2,000 people, about $6 billion gold; another $4 billion silver. There is so much ‘stuff” that if it was evenly divided among the 2000 people to carry, each person would have to lug 24lb of silver & almost 4 pounds of gold! That’s a lot to carry on a 900 miles, 5 month long journey – and all your own “stuff” too!
So Ezra is put on the spot for God. Ezra is “ashamed” to ask for an armed guard – despite 2000 people, despite $6billion in gold, despite $4billion in silver, despite 900 miles of bandit infested desert. Why? Because he had been bragging on God’s ability to protect those who serve Him! He realized – big gulp – the inconsistency of talking about God’s power and might and majesty on one hand, and asking for an armed guard on the other. Are we aware of the inconsistencies within our own “talk” and our “walk”?
In addition to knowing the Word of God, 8:18 tells us that Ezra called on the people to do two things: Fast and Pray. The New Living uses the adjective “earnestly” before the word pray, so “earnestly pray”.
It is unlikely this is the first time Ezra had practiced these disciplines – it is his “knee jerk” response to do these two things…. How we respond to life issues are learned responses – they are responses we have had in the past. Ezra’s response here by the canal demonstrates, I believe, what his usual response to life problems. He fasted… and he prayed. These are two neglected disciplines in the church today. They are life responses we ought to be acquainted with.
- Are we aware of the inconsistencies within your own “talk” and our “walk”?
- How do you respond when ‘on the spot’?
Father, Thank You for allowing us to come to You in Prayer. Help us to turn to You and remember Your Word and promise whenever we are ‘on the spot’. Help us to be earnest in our prayer lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen