What do I glean from the beginning of Ezra this morning other than names I can’t pronounce? It’s easy to skip over these chapters and wonder why they are there. Thankfully Warren Wiersbe’s Old Testament Commentary shed some light on what to look for as I began to read Ezra.
“Thank God He gives us difficult things to do!” said Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His highest.
The first time I read that statement, I shook my head in disagreement, but I was young and inexperienced then, and it seemed smarter to do the easy things that made me look successful. However, I’ve lived long enough to understand the wisdom of Chambers’ statement. I’ve learned that when God tells us to do difficult things, it’s because He wants us to grow.
In God’s Hall of Heroes are the names of nearly 50,000 Jews who, in 538 BC, left captivity in Babylon for responsibility in Jerusalem. God had called them back home to do a difficult job: to rebuild the temple and the city and restore the Jewish community in their own land. This noble venture involved a four months’ journey plus a great deal of faith, courage, and sacrifice; and even after they arrived in the Holy City, life didn’t get any easier. But as you read the inspired record, you can see the providential leading of the Lord from start to finish; and “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
You see God’s providence at work in three key events: the release of the captives (Ezra 1:1-4), the return of the remnant (1:5-2:70), and the rebuilding of the temple (2:68-3:13).
Today you and I can choose to see God’s providence in our own lives. He is at work if we would look for Him. It is easy, as Mr. Wiersbe mentioned, to think that at some point life should get easier. In the midst of it all – whatever that may be for you – carry on with faith, courage and sacrifice. He will meet us at the finish!
Kathy’s on staff at America’s Keswick in the Development Department. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 28 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local Church and has taught Sunday school and Bible studies for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.