Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bigger, Better, Stronger

"Why didn't you just ask the king for a band of soldiers to protect us?"

It was a good question. Valid. It would have made sense, and it's not like the king would have denied the request.

"Because...." His voice faltered a little, and he could see the confused expressions mixed with the annoyed, he-doesn't-know-what-he-is-doing looks on the faces of the men around him. How did he explain what he was feeling inside? No, it was more then that. How did he explain what he knew to be true.

"I mean," Tebel started saying while throwing his hands around in exaggerated gestures. "It would have been so much simpler. Then we wouldn't have needed to stop work for this." The man finished spewing and glared at Ezra.

Ezra got up and started pacing in the the makeshift tent. Rocks were being used for tables and chairs. He had called the men he had relied upon while they trekked through the wilderness, the men he had called leaders. 

Men who should have understood this.

Ezra let out a weary sigh, and turned to face the other men once again. "I was ashamed to ask the king for help." There. He had said it.

Then he smiled. It actually wasn't that hard.

He pointed at the group of men, boldness suddenly consuming his entire being. "I was ashamed to ask the king for help because I told the king that the hand of our God is for good on all those who seek him, and that the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him. That is why I didn't ask for help. God's help is greater then any help the king could have given us." Ezra locked his steeling gaze on the men. "And that is why we will be having a fast to humble ourselves and ask for his help."

The men slowly started to nod their heads.

"Alright," Ezra said. "Let's get started."

Based on Ezra 8:21-23

Ezra had proclaimed that there was going to be a fast by the side of the river Ahava, so that they could humble themselves before God and seek from Him a safe journey for everyone and everything involved.

I love that this is written in first person, my bread and butter as an author. It is believed that Ezra authored most of the book of Ezra, especially when he appeared on the scene in chapter seven and the voice of the book moves from third person to first person.

In my mind, I don't see Ezra proclaiming a fast without a conversation like this going down. I love how he boldly says that he was ashamed to even consider asking for help from the king after claiming God was all that and a bag of chips. He wouldn't even consider it.

Anybody else feeling a little convicted right now? 

In my mind, Ezra was saying, "I'm going to put my money were my mouth is!" Do we, as followers of Christ, do that? Do we put our actions behind our "faith-filled" words? Or is it all talk?

"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." Matthew 21:22

"So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:17

Ezra understood that if he would trust in God, then God would help. That God's help was bigger, better, and stronger then anything man could try to do. Ezra understood that if he wanted results for his faith, then he had to act on his faith.

There are so many things to be afraid of in this day and age! Diseases, war, death, and so much more. I will admit to you that I sometimes panic! Life is kind of scary, but don't let those things grip your heart and make you forget the One Who is able to take care of that junk and you in the midst of all that craziness. The One Who is bigger, better, and stronger than anything. Let's hold each other accountable when we start to forget. It's time we stopped saying we believe. It's time we show the world that we believe.

V. Joy Palmer

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