“Praise be to the Lord, the God of our Father, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.” (Ezra7:27–28)
King Artaxerxes, made a big production by sending Ezra a decree (taking credit for his actions) to allow all desiring to return to Jerusalem to go and also opening all of the treasuries of the Trans-Euphrates to return monies, all manner of worship materials, vestments, scrolls, etc. so the Temple could be rebuilt and a wall around the community to be built along with building materials for all.
Ezra acknowledge that the source of blessing was not Artaxerxes but God. Praise belongs to the sovereign God as we see His actions in the affairs of international politics. Grace is God’s good favor that meets our needs and is an expression of His love. His grace opens doors for His people and enables them to accomplish His will.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, this scripture from Ezra, helps us to understand Your actions in the post captivity period, when the people were returning. Faith had relaxed, and here was a large amount of people returning home to be the people of God, and yet avoid racism, isolationism, separatism; to be willing to work hard, determined to complete what God had begun. Much like our country today, we have people fractured, relationships with You weak; morality taking a back seat to what feels good, not what is good. Helps us, O Lord, to realize our fragile existence and to recommit ourselves to You, that we might once again become Your people, as the Jews did. Let this take place, sooner than later. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“When God measures us, He takes the tape and measures around our hearts, not our heads.”
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’” (Jeremiah29:12-14)
The purpose of the captivity was because the people of God had turned their backs on the laws designed to help them remember the commitment they had made and that they needed to repent of their sins. When the people began to repent, and when that was accomplished, their prayer life could return to normal.
Many times when people bring problems to me, I will ask about their prayer lives and almost immediately they will drop their heads, and say that they had been lacking in praying. Beloved, it’s all about our relationship with God, if we come to Him in prayer, He will listen and He will respond at the right time for us. So, how is your prayer life? Do you regularly talk with Him about your sins, and seek His forgiveness, that your relationship will be restored?
“Then they will cry out to the Lord, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.” (Micah3:4)
Sin shuts us off from God’s presence. Withdrawing His presence is one way God shows His wrath. Sins can carry a nation beyond the reach of prayer. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m sorry,” and you realize that you heard no feeling in their words? Too often the first thing you here is, “I’m sorry,” but if you listen closely you will hear that person/s repeat those words frequently, to the point that has just become an automatic response, and it holds no meaning anymore. They are just words. God hears them too. In the case here where the people are committing acts with evil intent, God will not listen to those people. He simply moves away from them, because they have to repentance about what they have done, it’s just a few words.
Second Thought of the Day:
“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if I is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” (1st Timothy4:4-5)
Holiness does not depend upon legal specification, but on a relationship with God. In prayerful fellowship with God, gratefully acknowledging Him as invariable source. Christians hallow everything we touch.
Material things are not by nature evil. Neither the healthy sexual relationships of marriage nor certain foods are sinful in themselves. God ordained marriage and procreation at creation (Genesis 1:28; 2:24-25). Everything He created was “very good” (Genesis 1:26). We are to use the personal relationships and material things God gives us thank Him for them and dedicating them to His purposes. Clear enough?