MY FAITH WAS STRENGTHENED and my expectations increased as I read Ezra 7 this morning. Three times in that chapter (and once in 8:18) we read that “the gracious hand of God” was on Ezra as he endeavored to do the work of God. “The king had granted everything he had asked for” because the gracious hand of God was on him (7:6). Ezra was brought to the place of his work, Jerusalem, for the same reason (7:9). And because “the hand of the LORD my God was on me”, Ezra says, “I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me” (7:28). Finally, Ezra knew it was because God was with him that he got great helpers in the cause (8:18).
What an amazing feeling it must have been for Ezra to know that God was ensuring his success. What peace of mind he must have had. Do you ever feel like that? This story is recorded to help us hope for the same kind of presence and help from God. When God decides he is going to do something through us nothing can stop it. He will overcome obstacles, raise up help, give us courage and conviction and we will be amazed to see things come together.
But there is one other component to God’s help. We read that the gracious hand of his God was on him, “for Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD (that is, his Bible), and to teach its decrees and laws in Israel” (7:10). Let’s live as Ezra did so that we can experience the hand of God with us.