• William T. Howe Ph.D.

May 23, 2021

Daily Reading: Ezra 8-10

Ezra 8:21

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.

Going back in time, Ezra rehearses the beginning of their journey to Jerusalem. The company gathered on the shores of the river that runs to Ahava, which is less than 100 miles from Babylon. There, this band of pilgrims gathered and for three days lived in tents during which time Ezra proclaimed a fast and the people afflicted themselves of this privation in order to beseech the Lord's good graces for their journey. Herein is a lesson. Always start any journey with a time of prayer. It's been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." This being true, the first step for a believer is the first step of prayer.

Their prayer was for the Lord to lead them in the right way. This was a practical request of God for in those days difficulty and peril lay all about. The safest of all journeys is the one that is led by the Lord God. While Ezra's prayer was for physical leadership, ours today should be for spiritual leadership. That our Lord would lead us in the right way is a surety if we seek of him a right way. After all it was He that said: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Matthew 7:7

One of the reasons for Ezra's prayer was...for our little ones. The best leadership quality of any parent is the willingness to allow God to show them the right way for the sake of their little ones. The little ones do not know how to pray in such a way as to obtain leadership from God. They are designed for a while to follow their parents. It is the parent's job to seek God's way and follow it. Thereby teaching their children to do the same when they are adults. Many find the way that God leads to be difficult. But the difficulties in following His way are nothing in light of the difficulties of lives absent His leadership. Children can learn this by observing their parents if they are wise.

They also prayed for the protection of all our substance. Yes, they prayed for the right way for all their substance. That which a child of God has obtained, which becomes theirs, is under attack. Every day there are enemies that want that which is yours. The best hedge against loss is the leadership of the Lord into the right way, for in the right way, there is divine protection of our stuff. For example, I do not know how many times I have left my house forgetting to push the button to close my garage door. But in all those times, the Lord has protected the stuff in the garage and in the house. I believe He gives divine protection to those who inquire of Him the right way and then follow it.

Nonetheless, they fasted and prayed at the beginning of their journey to find the right way for themselves, their little ones, and for their substance. God must have heard and protected, for they made it to Jerusalem without any Biblical evidence of loss or undue hardship. Your journey can be just as blessed if you at the first seek Him.

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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