Today’s Reading: Ezra 7–8
Although there is a great danger in knowing too much and walking too little of what one knows of the Bible (or the Law of Moses in Ezra’s case), I suppose one should be “well versed” in the Bible or as it is called “God’s Word” if one is to share or teach it clearly. (Is there a saying, ‘God doesn’t place great value on ignorance!?’)
I like the expression “the gracious hand of the Lord was upon us!” What would that look like in my life! And it is connected with being a servant in serving the Lord! Can’t think of anything more satisfying than doing that!
And so Ezra is filled with praise at experiencing a king who calls himself “king of kings” ORDERING him to go up to Jerusalem, and the king promises to provide for the needs of the great work that Ezra has to do for the Lord. He also takes courage and takes leading men with him! I think someone has said that “courage is not having no fear, but being brave enough to take a step that others would call foolishness” (or some saying like that?) But they are also aware (and HUMBLE enough) in their need to be serious about looking about help from God, and so they proclaim a fast! And because of that were protected from enemies and bandits along the way (a lot of them along my way of life!). I was thinking about how easy it all seems as I read this portion but I know that in real life, it’s not quite so ‘simple’ (or ‘easy’ is a better descriptive term?) as it sounds! It took them five months to make the journey and when they got to Jerusalem, they rested three days! Quite often I think of Psalm 121! “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Artaxerxes, may call himself king of kings in his letter to Ezra, but he can’t call himself “the Lord, Who made heaven and earth!” I love Psalm 44 – a psalm of the sons of Korah (were they the ones who had the job of carrying the ark of God?)
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.
I don’t know about you, but I am intrigued by the detail which God takes in His word to record the names of the people who went up! I may struggle with pronouncing the names, but it seems as if God whispers to me to assure me that He sees all and deeply appreciates the honour brought to Him and the loving affection of a brave heart who steps out in faith to be part of something that is done for Him!
And the various articles given to the different ones to be carried up to Jerusalem and handed over at their arrival, sounds somewhat like the parable of the New Testament (Matt. 25:14-) where each of the servants of a master are given different talents, and they are called to account as to how they used their talents when the Master returns again! And although the parable not in Matthew, talks of different rewards for those who gain more for the master, this parable here in Matthew talks about how each servant had the same opportunity to gain 100 % profit according to how much he was given! And I think the Master replies the same to all but the last servant who BURIED his talent – “Well done good and faithful servant. Come share in your master’s happiness! So sometimes, I pause in life to see if I can say like Jesus, “I must be about my Father’s business!” (Luke 2:49 K.J.V.)
So what does He have for me to do today? It may not be the exciting thing I want to do, but instead just quietly lovingly and caring for someone (or someones) He has put in my life! (or so it seems to be in my life!).