Monday, October 24, 2011

Pay Attention

Ezra 8:22b "The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him." NASB


This is a verse that every human needs to consider. This is a verse that can be a blessing, or it can be a curse. Really, this is nothing to play with. It is extremely serious stuff. We have to pay attention.


Ezra and the people were about to take all kinds of gold and silver and bronze up to Jerusalem for the temple. They had to go a distance to get there from Babylon. This is the distance from Iraq to Israel. Ezra was concerned about protection along the way. Things were not so different then than they are now. If you travel from Iraq to Israel, you have to be careful...especially if you are carrying goods that an enemy would want. That is what happened in Ezra's day. He was afraid to take this trip with all of these people and all of the valuable things that were to be dedicated to God. He, however, had a dilemma. "Do I ask king Artixerces for his help, or do I trust God alone to get us through?" After all, he had told the king: "The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him." Did he really believe this? You bet. As a result, he did not ask for the king's protection. He could have. It would have been the humanly prudent thing to do. The king wanted to help, but when Ezra really thought about it, he did not need the king's help. Why not? Because God's favor is on those who seek Him. And anyone who thinks that they can oppose Him or forsake Him, are just fooling themselves and they will be in a world of hurt.


This truth was not a temporary truth. This truth is truth forever. It was true then and it is true now. If we, if I seek God...if I go after Him and who He is and desire to know Him and His heart, God's favor will be with us/me. God is on our side if this is our attitude. This is the blessing found in this verse. When you think about it, who would not want this? Who would not want the favor of God? It is pure stupidity to reject this, but people do. People forsake Him. People are even bold enough to oppose Him. Man verses God. Guess who is going to win? His power and His anger are against those who forsake Him.


I do not want God's power against me. I do not want God's anger unleashed on me. I don't think any human would want this. But many humans are inviting it because they think that they know what is best and that God is either non-existent, or uncaring, or apathetic. Nothing can be further from the truth. God exists. God cares. God is involved and men need to pay attention.


And when it comes to tough situations, when it comes to challenging times, when it comes to engaging the enemy, when it comes to some of the things that I think Christians will be encountering in the not too distant future, we have to remember, we can't rely on the arm of man because the "arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own" but the arm of God is favorably disposed to all who seek Him so "let courage rise with danger, be never wanting there".

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