Ezra 8: Fearing God in Prayer
August 6, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Ezra 8, Proverbs 6, Luke 14:25-35, 1 Timothy 4
The recording of the genealogy of those who returned with Ezra (8:1-14) reveals that there are none of the tribe of Levi (8:15). Therefore, to fulfill obligations in the Law, Ezra recruits successfully (8:16-20). He is careful to ensure that all is done properly and in good order.
But it is not just an appeal to the letter of the Law. He proclaims a fast (8:21) so that they might humble themselves before God and seek from him a safe journey. However you parse out the connection between God’s sovereignty and our prayers, it is clear that biblically we pray to the King of Kings, God himself, because he is the Sovereign. Follow Ezra’s example and pray (fast, too, when given medical clearance to do so, and within biblical common sense bounds) to entreat God to protect and provide and build his kingdom.
Ezra’s reasoning is fascinating (8:22). He had taught a particular principle to the pagan king, and he was determined to make sure that principle would hold to the honor of God. “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against those who forsake him.” This principle is one worthy of learning: seek God, honor him, and his hand of blessing will reside on you; turn from him and the contrary will occur, at least eternally, if not today, too.
God is a fearsome God, and his blessings are with the poor in heart, the meek, the humble, those who seek first his kingdom, and put their trust only in him. So they “fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty” (8:23). Would you do likewise? Is there a son or daughter, a parent or spouse, a friend or colleague, who is in need of particular answer to prayer? Is it you yourself who is in need of that answer to prayer? Rather than simply “saying a prayer,” would you spend time seeking God in prayer, talking to him, understanding his will according to his Word, and crying out to God that he might hear your plea. The prayer in faith, according to God’s will, is answered (James 5:16).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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