The prophet Ezra said, “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.
So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.” 8:21-23. Ezra and the people were in danger. They were experiencing anxiety at the river of Ahava. They had reasons to fear for their lives. Ezra should be ashamed to lean upon the arm of flesh after he testified that God could and will protect and deliver them if only they place their trust in God. Do we see ourselves when we are in danger? We experience anxiety over our adversaries. We allow anxiety to rob us of joy, peace, and health. Where do we turn in our times of danger?
Ezra leads his people in seeking God. Verse 21. He calls upon them to fast and pray. Like us, Ezra looks for help in this time of danger. The psalmist said, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, From whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, Which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in From this time forth, and even for evermore.” Psalm 121. This was a time for praying! Their lives, their children, and all of them possessions were in danger. Everything that was precious to them was on the line. Heroes of the faith have sought God in desperate times. David said, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8. Isaiah said, “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; Yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.” 26:9. Daniel said, “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” 9:3. Jeremiah informs us that those who earnestly seek God find Him. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” 29:13.
Ezra leads his people in surrendering to God. Verse 22. The temptation is to look to people we know for help instead of God. The king could help them. Even the soldiers could be their salvation. However, in this case, their testimony for God was at stake. They had told the king of God’s power. They had testified of God’s faithfulness in the past. They decided to risk all on God. What would we have done? Would we dare to do the same as they? Who do we trust, God or human beings when the situation is serious? Should we expect God to come through when we need Him? The Hebrew writer states, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” 13:5. Samuel wrote, “The God of my rock; in him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, My saviour; thou savest me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:3.
God saves Ezra and his people. Verse 23. We must understand that God meets His people where they are. God hears our prayers. Why? He promised that He would. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12. God responds to their seeking hearts. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1.
You and I were in danger because of our sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. We were separated from God. Isaiah 59:1, 2. When we would think of our eternal future, fear gripped our hearts. What could we do? We sought the Lord in His Word that will judge us on the last day. John 12:48. Are YOU in a place of danger? God loves YOU! John 3:16; Romans 5:8-9. Seek the Lord Jesus Christ by believing, John 8:24, repenting of your sins, Acts 2:38, confess Jesus as the Christ, Acts 8:37, and be immersed having your sins washed away, Acts 22:16. Bobby D. Gayton