In Ezra 8, he is praying and fasting for a safe journey from Persia to Jerusalem. This was going to be a long, hard journey through dangerous territory. See, he had boasted about God’s goodness and was ashamed to ask King Artaxerxes for protection because he had already assured him that the hand of God was upon them. For him to go and ask for help would have proved that Ezra lacked faith in God. Basically, he wasn’t practicing the faith that he so boldly preached about. Let’s look at verses 21-23:
“I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us, our children and all our possessions. I did this because I was ashamed to ask the king for infantry and calvary to protect us from enemies during the journey, since we had told him, “The hand of our God is gracious to all who seek Him, but His great anger is against all who abandon Him.” So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He granted our request.”
How many times have our actions been inconsistent with our mouth? Instead of praying, fasting and trusting God like Ezra, we go and do whatever it takes to accomplish our plans or desires. We let the world see an inconsistent version of God…which contradicts who He truly is! It is our job to put our faith into action…not just verbalize it, but also “walk the talk”.
Ezra loved God so much and wanted Him to be glorified in all that he did…so that meant not giving King Artaxerxes any reason to question his faith or the power of God to protect them. However, what I love even more is that God granted Ezra’s request because of his prayer and fasting, because in verse 31 you see all the people, the offerings (good and silver) were all counted and verified that they had traveled with over the last several months. Now if that isn’t a testimony to how trusting God will lead you safely to where you need to go, I don’t know what is!
Do we practice what we preach about our faith? Or do we doubt that God can take care of every aspect of our life if we trust in Him? Let’s strive to be more like Ezra….allowing the peace of God to help us when life isn’t feeling so “peachy”. Trusting Him and being one who will “practice what we peach” will give an example of an omnipotent God that this world needs to see through you and me.
God’s hand is upon you friend.