I have been inspired by A Man named Ez.
He's got his own book in the OT.
God used this man to help bring his children back together after captivity. They were in process of rebuilding the temple until the unbelieving nations around came in with paid staff and discouraged the children of Israel. Then those pot stirrers and malcontents went to the king with a letter asking him to stop the children from rebuilding. And he did. So here we have a discouraged people who were going about God's business and yet the plans for the temple were brought to a standstill...In fact the scripture says..."they compelled them by force to stop."
In chapter 7 Ezra uses this phrase about himself....
"The hand of the Lord his God was on him".
How did he know that?
And later he says... "The gracious hand of his God was on him".
Would you like to know that?
That God's hand was gracious and it was over you now?
How could he be so sure of that?
How could he know?
The next verse gives us the key...
10. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.
We get it so messed up sometimes..
We may pray for a week or study for a few days and then we give up... Nothing seems to happen and we wonder if God cares about our situation. Maybe there are people in your life that discourage you. You're just trying to do what God has asked you to do but those few voices make you feel like giving up.
But devotion requires a long-term commitment.
It's not enough to just cry out when things get bad, We must in our time of plenty consistently throw ourselves into his word.
In our wealth we must see our nakedness before God.
In our lack for nothing we must pray as we would in our desperate times.
In our mountain top we must prepare ourselves in his word for the valley.
This kind of living is what pleases God.
Honestly it takes a lot more energy trying to be the one in control.
When we recognize God's hand we can relax knowing he's got it figured out and all we have to do is surrender our plans to him.
We can confidently as Ezra know that the Gracious hand of God is on us.
Even when it looks scary. Yes,even then.
I'm sure it was a little scary for Abraham to set out into an unknown land. I think Moses was a little terrified to go before Pharaoh and give him the message God had for him. Esther knew she could be put to death for going before the king unsummoned.
But as Ezra says... "Because the hand of the Lord was on me I took courage".
This past month has been a bit of a bumpy ride.
I'm not complaining. Because I know there is one who knows every little thing and he is in charge of my life.
I can say that today because he has shown me that though the night may be long he will be the light in the morning.
I must renew my mind in his word to ward off any stray thoughts of anxiety.
Because I know that I know that the Gracious hand of the Lord my God is on me.
Is that what you desire?
Tell him. And then press into him. He welcomes your devotion.
And my prayer for everyone reading this today is...
Take courage and May the hand of God be upon you today my friend.