– Jesus: Our Faithful High Priest and Scribe (Part 3)
THE HAND OF GOD IS UPON THOSE WHO SEEK HIM
Earlier we learned that Ezra led the people to join him down at the river to fast and pray in preparation for the journey from Babylon to Jerusalem. The Israelite exiles would be understandably very concerned or even fearful of what would happen to them. Their caravan would be hard for anyone to miss as they journeyed over the course of four months.
They probably were wondering such things as:
Will the Chaldeans and Babylonians find us and capture us again?
What if we are robbed and attacked along our long journey?
Will the bad guys find us, our little ones, and our silver and gold?
Why were they traveling without protection?
Ezra wrote, “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 was concerned for the reputation of God. He did not want to do anything to detract from the character of God in the eyes of their captors.
A commentator wrote about this stage in the Israelites history:
“When you consider the dangers of the journey, their faith was great, and it was rewarded by divine protection. This had to have been one of the most astonishing events in history.
As they traveled they carried orders from the king. These orders were shown to the governors of the areas where the exiles traveled. As a result, the governors supported the exiles.
The commission from the king to Ezra included orders to carry over 25 tons of silver and gold from the Babylonians to the temple of Jerusalem. Ezra gave twelve priests and twelve Levites the responsibility and accountability for carrying the treasure.
Ezra carefully distributed all the offerings for the temple. This ensured that everything would arrive intact, especially since the offerings would be weighed in Jerusalem to confirm the safe passage of the offerings.
Ezra planned wisely, made careful preparations, and effectively organized the exiles for the journey. Yet, in spite their preparation, they all knew that apart from God, they faced serious danger and the probability of arriving unscathed was very low. They humbled themselves before God, to seek from Him the right way for them and their little ones and all their possessions (Ezra 8:21).
At times like this, we too must look to LOOK TO JESUS OUR FAITHFUL PRIEST AND SCRIBE. Desperate times always call for desperate prayer. In Psalm 27:8, David prayed, “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’” Isaiah prayed, “With my soul, I have desired You in the night. Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). Daniel prayed in desperation, “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3).
“When Ezra and the exiles prayed to God, their focus changed from the immediate to the eternal. They had a hunger for God. Their focus changed from their earthly journey to their eternal journey. They trusted God.”
INTEGRATING TRUTH INTO EVERYDAY LIFE
We all face times when we know that apart from God, we face failure, danger, or worse. At such times we too have the fundamental choice whether to trust God or to rely on our own resources.
Are you facing something that causes you to fear the outcome or your future? Based on the examples of Ezra and the exiles, what should you do? How can you apply this to your situation?
Listen to :Jesus: Our Faithful High Priest and Scribe (Part 1)