Wednesday, December 7
Who would have thought that there would be a story about camping in the Bible. The book of Ezra goes on to tell about how Ezra went with a company of people and those of Levitical heritage on a journey to the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding area. They had a long, dangerous trek ahead of them sometimes even camping in enemy territory. They did not ask for soldiers or guards to protect them for their journey because they had said to the king that their God would protect them. They were placing their trust in God to see them through the rough territory and prayed specifically for Him to protect them, their children, and their possessions. God honored their trust in Him and protected them. When they arrived at Jerusalem they were able to give the gifts that King Artexerxes had sent, and able to offer the appropriate sacrifices. They were also able to deliver the king’s edicts to the governors in the provinces beyond the river, and so Jerusalem’s neighbors began to show support for Jerusalem and the people who inhabited it, and the temple of God.
Then it is brought to Ezra’s attention that God’s people have been intermarrying with the idol worshipping people of the area around Jerusalem. God had specified that the people should not intermarry as not to become entangled in the worship of other false gods within their homes, and the pagan influence that would be brought upon their children. God wanted to keep his people from being drawn into pagan idol worship as they were so prone to being drawn into. Ezra went into a time of mourning for the situation of God’s people. He pleads with God for forgiveness for the people’s sins of disobedience. A time of group repentance was held and sacrifices made to pay for the sins of disobedience to God in marrying foreign women who did not worship God thus concluding the book of Ezra.
What caught my eye was that Ezra and his company of people camping along the way decided to ask God for His protection instead of asking the King for a human army of protection. They could have been attacked at any time by enemy forces, but because they chose to ask God for protection and trust Him – God protected them. Have you ever asked God for his protection? Are there times that you have felt God protecting you? God is faithful to his promise that when we place our trust in Him, He will bring us through whatever situation we find ourselves in. Key thought: Place your trust in God because he is faithful to his promises.