Wow, what a chapter!
Ezra 8, though at first I thought it was “all names,” that is … only names!
Come to discover, it is full of practical instruction!
Even today’s paragraph … “Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way. And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days.” Ezra 8:31-32
“Then we departed,” a journey has begun! This is the second such trip recorded in the Book of Ezra, captives (now freed) being allowed to go home, home to Jerusalem and vicinity.
A journey of four months, according to Ezra 7:9 … “For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.” This is a distance of around 800-900 miles, I am told.
A “caravan” consisting of old folks, as well as young parents and their children, including infants one may presume. What an arduous trek this could have been!
What a testimony! “The hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.”
God’s delivering Hand!
What potential ambushes?
We are not told.
But “they” were out there, lurking and planning harm to the Jews!
Yet God allowed none of them to “touch the apple of His Eye,” His little Jewish Nation, a major part of it anyway! (Deuteronomy 32:10 … “The LORD kept them as the apple of His eye.” As a very tender part of Himself!)
Maybe better yet, this bare, bold fact … “He that toucheth you (Israel) toucheth the apple of His Eye.” Zechariah 2:8
What is Ezra doing, in penning today’s Paragraph, today’s Text?
Bragging on God!
Uplifting His Name!
Magnifying His Grace!
Revealing His power!
Dear readers here this morning, this is testifying, the right way! “And the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.”
Testimony, true praise to God … is NOT about us. Rather, it is all about HIM!
Then … our Lesson for today ends with this information. ““And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days.” Three days of doing what?
Nothing! Nothing recorded anyway.
Just thinking and meditating and resting in the comforting peace of God’s goodness and provision and care! Just soaking in the fact that GOD IS GOOD!
And maybe for three days reveling (rejoicing) in the amazing Awesomeness of God Almighty!
Testifying one to another!
The Seraphim (angels) of Isaiah 6 were delighting in the Glory of god … saying TO EACH OTHER, “Holy, Holy, Holy” is the Lord our God! (Verse 3 … “And ONE cried unto ANOTHER, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” King James Version, word for word.)
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
Psalm 107:2 sums today’s lesson well. “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”