Ezra 8 … Consider His Hand of Deliverance

Then we journeyed from the river Ahava on the twelfth of the first month to go to Jerusalem; and the hand of our God was over us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and the ambushes by the way. (8:31).

Ezra knew. Ezra knew his God; he knew His character; he knew His power; he knew His favor, he knew His Good Hand Upon His children, manifested in His strength and loving, benevolent care (Ezra 7). And Ezra knew exactly what all those who were embarking on this dangerous journey needed. They did not need the help of the king. They did not need the protection of troops and horsemen. They needed His Hand of Deliverance.

Consider His Hand of Deliverance

Ezra, a man of faith, had dared to boldly proclaim what he believed to be true. God was powerful and able to protect them. But now, it was time for the rubber to meet the road; Ezra would have to live out his declaration of truth. Would his God rise to the occasion?

This return trip would be no easy undertaking. Ezra would be leading households, including women, children, flocks and herds through a 900-mile route that would take at least four months to travel; a journey fraught with potential dangers, including serious threats of ambushes along the way.

“The vast treasures they were carrying with them offered a great temptation for robbers…Grave dangers faced travelers going the great distance between Mesopotamia and the holy land… There were also women and children (v. 21),” NIV Study Bible.

And as Ezra had professed his absolute faith in the power, strength and loving, benevolent care of his God, Ezra stood by his convictions. Rather than asking help from the king, he placed his reliance in the Only One able to deliver his caravan safely to Jerusalem. In a daring display of faith, Ezra chose to take this journey apart from the protection available through human means. Instead, Ezra chose to rely on his God and His Hand of Deliverance.

For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him,” (8:22).

  • His Hand of Deliverance, stronger than a mighty army
    • The king is not saved by a mighty army;
      A warrior is not delivered by great strength.
      17 A horse is a false hope for victory;
      Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength,
      (Psalm 33:16-17).
  • His Hand of Deliverance, the only hope against the adversary
    • O give us help against the adversary,
      For deliverance by man is in vain,
      (Psalm 60:11).
  • His Hand of Deliverance, superior to all human capabilities
    • It is better to take refuge in the Lord
      Than to trust in man.
      It is better to take refuge in the Lord
      Than to trust in princes,
      (Psalm 118:8-9).
  • His Hand of Deliverance, His provision for strength and prosperity
    • “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
      And whose trust is the Lord.
      “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
      That extends its roots by a stream
      And will not fear when the heat comes;
      But its leaves will be green,
      And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
      Nor cease to yield fruit,
      (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

How do we respond to His Hand of Deliverance?

Because Ezra had given his heart completely over to study, practice, and teach the law of God, Ezra knew well his God of the Scriptures.

For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel,” (Ezra 7:10).

And because he knew well his God of the Scriptures, his faith was strengthened in absolute assurance that His Hand of Deliverance is favorably disposed to all who will but seek Him.

“The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him,” (8:22).

May we turn our hearts in faith this day, and every day, to wholeheartedly seek Him.

Oh, that we would never look to the world’s way of strength, but daily seek His Hand of Deliverance.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
And rely on horses,
And trust in chariots because they are many
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!
(Isaiah 31:1).

Oh, that we would never trust in our own wisdom, but daily turn our hearts to seek His Hand of Deliverance.

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered,
(Proverbs 28:26).

And, while Ezra was ashamed to ask for the king’s help for deliverance, he was not ashamed to proclaim the truth of what awaits those who forsake Him.

For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him,” (8:22).

Oh, may we never be ashamed to proclaim the whole truth. The truth is, His Hand of Deliverance is favorably disposed to those who seek Him through faith in Jesus Christ. And the truth is, His Hand is against those who choose to reject His Deliverance from sin. If we truly believe that, won’t we, like Ezra and the apostle Paul, declare it to all who need to hear?

Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God, (Acts 20:26-27).

Oh Father, grow us in our faith and our boldness, we pray, that we would live as Your vessel, to unashamedly proclaim the whole truth of Your Hand of Deliverance.

Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God,
(Psalms 29:7).

Let’s Grow Together!

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