Day 261

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Ezra 4:7-23; 7:1 – 8:36 (NLT)

Carole Yurewicz, Executive Assistant to the Executive Pastor

I have to tell you I had the hardest time yet writing this devotion. I prayed and prayed and yet nothing seemed to speak to me. The more I tried to come up with something, the harder it was to find something to write about that I thought would be helpful to others. How could I be reading God’s word and yet nothing jumped out as the “perfect” topic to write about? I studied the background of the book and read several different commentaries and still nothing seemed like the right topic. How could this be? At this point I was over a week behind the date for submitting my devotional. I was really struggling, so I started talking about it with other people. I told a co-worker that I had learned that the name Ezra means “Jehovah helps.” She replied saying well I hope that Jehovah helps you in writing your Solid devotional. There “it” was! Why hadn’t I seen this sooner?

Ezra always knew that God’s gracious hand and not his own ability or wisdom enabled good things to happen. He studied and also lived by God’s word and he was able to teach others to follow what God revealed. Verses 7:9b-10 says “the gracious hand of his God was on him.” This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel. Verse 7:28 says, “And praise him for demonstrating such unfailing love to me by honoring me before the king, his council, and all his mighty nobles! I felt encouraged because the gracious hand of the Lord my God was on me. And I gathered some of the leaders of Israel to return with me to Jerusalem.” Again in verse 8:22, 31: “For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to accompany us and protect us from enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king, ‘Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.’ We broke camp at the Ahava Canal on April 19 and started off to Jerusalem. And the gracious hand of our God protected us and saved us from enemies and bandits along the way.”

Ezra had “the gracious hand of God” on him because he studied and lived by God’s word. Whatever our calling is we need to study and in some way teach the word of God. Scripture encourages us to be devoted to the study and obedience of the Bible – God’s Word. Do you want the gracious hand of God in your life? I do! That means we need to study, obey and tell others.

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6 responses »

  1. Thanks Carole, sometimes it we need the wise council of others when we feel like we are at a roadblock. This is all the more reason to be involved in a group study.

  2. Ezra was “ashamed” to ask the king for protection because he had proclaimed to the king that “the gracious hand of the our God is on us”. Thank You, Lord for Your promises. As I read Your Word and learn these promises, please strengthen me to walk them out confidently in total belief, Help me, Lord, to overcome my doubt and unbelief. It is only as I experience the truth of Your greatness that I can effectively teach others. If I haven’t walked the walk, I can’t talk the talk.

  3. “Ezra had committed himself to studying the Revelation of God, to living it, and to teaching Israel to live its truths and ways.” – Ezra 7:10

    Studying it. Living it. Teaching it. A 3 point sermon in one verse. I notice that all three words are verbs, or actions. They involve a choice – a willingness on our part to not just float along on the river of life but to set our anchor and determine to study, live, & teach the Word of God. But we can’t live or teach our faith without first studying with an open heart to receive what God wants to give us. So today, Lord, I sit at Your feet and listen for Your still small voice.

  4. I did not realize my God had a fierce anger ? this bothered me when reading this …. please restore what I might have not read correctly please I need to know ! for I have always believed and thought that God did not have fierce nor anger only love and guidance faith and belief gosh ! please restore me on these words I read for I know not what I am reading God I ask this of you please help me understand.

  5. scared me so when reading that I did not think or know God was fierce or angry just loving and forgiving I do not want to be afraid of God

    • Dear Anonymous,

      There are great and reassuring answers available to your concern about God’s “fierce anger”. Please contact a mature Christian and/or a pastor for help. The answer involves God’s holiness which means He is both just and loving.

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