Our God is Mighty To Save

In Ezra’s day, traveling was so dangerous that it wasn't unusual for the king to provide a military escort to protect the people and possessions he sent out on business. Yet when Ezra was given royal orders to travel a great distance, Ezra couldn’t accept a military escort with good conscious. 

 

Ezra admitted, “I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, "The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him." (Ezra 8:22)
 
Ezra faithfully witnessed to the king, telling him about the greatness of God, and how He is mighty to save. Ezra had proclaimed before the king his utmost confidence in God. Yet when King Artaxerxes ordered Ezra to take a large group of people from Babylon to Jerusalem, along with a lot of silver and gold, Ezra surprised the king by refusing a military escort. Despite the fact that Ezra would have nearly 5,000 people with him—some being women and children and the trip would be practically 1,200 miles, taking about four months to complete at a rate of 10 ½ miles per day, Ezra was determined to trust solely in the Lord. 

Ezra's faith would be stretched along the way. I'm sure he heard complaints from his fellow travelers questioning why he refused a military escort, just as Moses often heard complaints from the Israelites journeying with him in the wilderness to the Promised Land. The journey for Ezra and his people would force them to come face to face with bandits along the way. Bandits, who made their living plundering travelers, and would use any means necessary to rob Ezra’s group of their silver and gold. Being such a large group, with so many valuables made them an easy target, and a bandit's delight. Especially since traveling with the women and children would ruled out any chance of a quick get away. Because these bandits were such a problem, a military escort was not only customary, it was necessary, to ensure the travelers safety

Warren Wiersby, in his commentary of the Old Testament, sums up the amazing faith of Ezra in traveling without a military escort,  
"Here were several thousand Jews, inexperienced in travel and warfare, carrying a fortune in gold and silver, led by a scholar, not a soldier, and planning to travel through dangerous territory that was infested with brigands, and yet their leader did not want an army to protect them! “If anyone deserves the “Great Faith Award,” it’s Ezra!"

Ezra asking for an escort, or gratefully accepting the king's offer of an escort, would have communicated loud and clear “God isn’t sufficient to protect us on His own.  He needs a military escort to fill in where He falls short.” Ezra knew God was totally sufficient to protect him and all he traveled with far greater than any human escort, no matter which enemies they encountered along the way. Ezra had talked the talk, now it was time to walk the walk. The outcome of this trip is found in Ezra chapter 7. However Ezra chapter 8 reads like a flashback.

 Ezra 7:8-9 reports, Ezra’s safe arrival to Jerusalem. 
“Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king.  He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him” 
What an amazing praise report Ezra had to share with the king. No doubt the news would have spread through the kingdom like wildfire, and people would be amazed at the power and ability of Ezra’s God. Ezra could have taken an escort, and no one would have blamed him. But instead, Ezra prayed and fasted and held to his faith in God to deliver him from whatever troubles he would face. Because he did not let any anything move him from placing complete confidence in God, Ezra was able to witness God’s mighty power to guard that which was entrusted to Him (2 Tim. 1:12) As a result, people heard the miraculous safe arrival of Ezra and his people and couldn’t deny just how great God is.

What challenge are you facing today? While there is nothing wrong with accepting help from other people when you need it, may we be like Ezra, appreciative of human help, but not dependent on it--placing our full confidence in the Lord alone to help us and provide whatever we may need for the journey ahead. People’s help is limited, but God’s help is limitless.

Question for you: When has God's gracious hand kept you safe? To read my answer to this question, how God miraculously protected me, click here.

   

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Copyright © 2013 Brooke Espinoza.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Brooke,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. In answer to your question about when has God kept me safe, one comes straight to my mind, where I was driving up a hill past a lorry and my front right tyre blew. As I was in a mini, it could easily have flipped over. God not only brought me safetly to the side of the road, but I know He sent an angel to change my tyre. One moment he was there and the next he was gone. It will be something I will remember for the rest of my life. I am truly thankful.

    I also wanted to let you know that I have added your blog to a guest post I wrote, '50 Christian women bloggers to follow'. Thank you for for the encouragement you share.

    http://birdsontheblog.co.uk/50-christian-women-bloggers-to-follow/

    Blessings


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    1. Oh Anita, I am so glad God had His hand on you and kept you safe when your tire blew! That must have been so scary! Praising God for His faithful provisions to not only keep you safe, but to send you help when you needed it. He is so faithful!

      Thank you so much for thinking to include me in your list of '50 Christian women bloggers to follow'. I am truly honored and very blessed to be included! God bless you immensely!

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  2. Traveling in a car brings many instances of when God's hand kept me safe. A couple of years ago, my husband and I were sneaking in a get away weekend in the mountains about 4 hours from us. Because of me, we got a late start and once we were up in the mountains, day turned to dusk and the wind began to whip the snow across some open meadows. Our car began to slide on the ice and my husband, who had driven in snow for all of his growing up years, became concerned. Our car hydroplaned and hubby couldn't keep it in the lane. I just kept praising God as we spun across the lanes and finally came to rest against a guard rail. There was damage to the car but we were not hurt. Many people stopped and asked if they could call a tow truck for us.

    Eventually we made it to our mountain retreat where the host had kept some food warm for us and took the chill out of our room.
    God had provided mightily for us--keeping us safe and sending caring people to help us.

    The safety he has bestowed upon us while traveling in the car is amazing.

    Thank you for your post,
    Janis

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    1. Janis, what an amazing testimony of God's faithful provision! So glad you and your husband made it safely and that God used many people to bless you and minister to you. He is so faithful! God bless you enormously!

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  3. I worked for 4 years in some very dangerous neighborhoods. I knew that if I was doing His work, He was watching over my shoulder keeping me safe!

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    1. I love your reasoning, Helene! It is so true. If God calls us to it, He will see us through it. If He called you to specifically work in those neighborhoods, He had a purpose, and would certainly put a hedge of protection around you until your purpose there was complete and He was leading you elsewhere. God bless you tremendously!

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  4. Hi
    I am following you from Friendship Friday. What a great story of Ezra - and I love Mighty to Save! I read your story of God looking after you in the Sam's store. Wonderful. I have a boating trip - where I was at peace in the midst of a storm. Our God is an awesome God.
    Manyb lessings,
    Janis www.janiscox.com

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    1. Hi Janis! Your boating trip sounds great! How awesome to have such peace in the midst of a storm. I love when unbelievers see that peace in the midst of our storms and we can point them to the Prince of Peace, Who is the only reason we can ever have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Our God is an awesome God! God bless you immensely!

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  5. I was married to an extremely abusive husband, and it came between life & death a few times, but the Lord kept me safe, and finally took me out of this situation, and sent me one of his Angels who I am now married too! Praise God.

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    1. Oh Marie, I am so thankful God delivered you from that horrific abuse, preserving and redeeming your life! Your testimony reminds me of David in Psalm 71 who cried out to God for deliverance from his adversaries of his life, yet by the end of the Psalm, David is praising God for delivering him from his adversaries. Such a beautiful Psalm of God's deliverance. God bless you immeasurably!

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  6. I am finding my faith challenged as I take myself off of a prescription medication for my thyroid, as well as stop taking routine blood tests to "check" my health. This would have sounded crazy to me a few years ago, but as we mature in faith & grow closer to the Lord, I believe He will guide us with radical confidence (in spite of the "dangers" ) as He did Ezra. Bless the Lord O my soul, Who forgives my sins & heals ALL my diseases! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

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    1. The Lord bless you, Cynthia as you step out in faith, as Ezra, trusting solely in the Lord to guide you in the way you should go (Psalm 32:8). "Bless the Lord O my soul, Who forgives my sins & heals ALL my diseases!" Amen! I wrote a series of posts on Psalm 103 when a group of us were memorizing it if you are interested. Here's the link on the post for Psalm 103:3 http://brookeespinoza.blogspot.com/2012/06/psalm-103-summer-memory-challenge.html God bless you abundantly!

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  7. Beyond blessed by your words today. Growing in faith.

    I hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip into some serious goodness.

    Also wanted to extend an invite ... to share this post (or another fave) to encourage even more moms. We could use it.

    Join the Melody ...
    http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/2013/06/time-out-time-in.html

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! So glad this blessed you! Will definitely take you up on your invitation. Thanks! I really enjoy your site! God bless you greatly!

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Thank you for taking the time to share. May God bless you richly!