Ezra 8:22 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.
It is fascinating, and sometimes amusing, to see how God uses human weaknesses for good and for His glory. Ezra had told the king, accurately enough, about why the Jews had been conquered, but that if they had been faithful to God, it never would have happened. Now he is faced with what was in those days a definitely dangerous journey, and he has to “back up his boasting,” so to speak. His own sense of shame forced him to depend on God actively, and that’s a good thing. The next verse indicates what they did, and that God responded. I am reminded of what someone said recently in relation to churches being told to shut down because of COVID: “God is our Shield, and He is able to protect us from the virus. If we contract the virus, He is our Healer. If we perhaps succumb, He has prepared heaven for us.” That covers all the bases! We aren’t to be presumptuous, but we are to walk in the peace of knowing that God is everything the Bible says about Him. And if we are regularly telling others about Him, then our own embarrassment can help keep us in line! If we regularly say about God that which is true, then our own words can implant that into us as unwavering faith, and that is a good thing indeed.
This is a major benefit that I have found in being a preacher. I am constantly telling other people how wonderful God is, and that has an excellent effect on my own faith. Of course that can’t be just words; I’ve got to walk it out on a daily basis. It does me no good to tell others, “God will speak to you if you regularly take time with Him each morning,” if I’m not doing that myself! It’s all part of James 1:22. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” That applies to those who speak the Word as well! It has been relatively easy to be at peace about my upcoming surgery because I have talked with so many people about God’s faithfulness. I was almost surprised to dream about it a couple of nights ago, indicating that I still have some anxiety about it. I’m not to be presumptuous, but be active in trusting God to be my healer, and to take care of my wife and this church while I’m in the hospital. This will be good training in prayer!
Father, thank You for all the good things You are doing each day. Yesterday had quite a few of them. Thank You for all You have planned for today. I pray that when our webmaster comes this morning that things will go smoothly in Cathy learning how to edit the English of our church website. I pray that I would be able to understand all the questions and so fill out the hospitalization questionnaire correctly. I pray that I would have the knowledge and wisdom to help my pastor friend this afternoon with the computer/telephone issues he has. I pray that we would be able to confirm the use of my tablet for Internet chats, so that will be fully available during my hospitalization. Lord, none of those are issues for You, but they all require my faithfulness. Help me be obedient in every detail, on Your schedule, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!