Ezra was a student of God’s word. He knew God from the law. He told the king that the hand of the Lord is on those who seek Him. He told the king that God’s wrath is for those who forsake Him.
They were about to travel for four months carrying enormous amounts of gold and silver.
Ezra’s natural instinct was to ask for soldiers and horsemen to protect them.
Thankfully, he felt a conviction and acted on it. He didn’t want to dishonor God’s name. He told the king who God was. He didn’t want to show the king he didn’t believe it himself.
He chose to be a good witness, a living testimony of God’s goodness and saving power.
It was hard for Ezra, though.
He wasn’t ready to just set out in confidence. He lacked confidence. He knew God on paper. He had studied the law. But he was still getting to know God on a heart level.
Ezra proclaims a fast. The goal is to humble themselves before God to seek safe passage to Jerusalem.
God had arranged the whole thing. They could have gone with confidence that the Lord wouldn’t change His mind now about returning them to Jerusalem and the wealth to the temple.
God does take them safely. They didn’t buy their salvation with a fast, though. It was the other part that did the “work.” They humbled themselves. That was the right thing, the thing that draws God near. It means they recognized they couldn’t rely on themselves and were totally reliant on God to bring them through.
That’s our position before God. That should be our constant state— humble, meek, gentle— before the Lord and others.
We should know that we have no good thing in us, that we can do nothing apart from God. We should know that with man it is impossible.
But we should also know that God works all goodness in and through us, that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, and that with God all things are possible.