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. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
This was a kind of rubber-meets-the-road situation for Ezra. Here they were on the long journey to Jerusalem, carrying an abundance of silver and gold and all the vessels to return to the temple, but there were enemies about. And Ezra had boasted so much about God’s goodness to His people that he didn’t want to ask for an armed escort, so he had to trust God. He said it. He believed it. But now here was the working out of it in an actual dangerous situation. And God was faithful to deliver them safely to their destination.
Sometimes it is hard to have faith in those moments where it is most necessary. On a dangerous path, with an enemy on the prowl, will we trust God for safety and protection? Will we believe in His goodness to lead us safely along the way as we seek Him and seek to do His work? The easy way out for Ezra was to request some soldiers to go with them. After all, the king had already been willing to do so much to enable their return to Jerusalem. But Ezra in this moment chose to believe God and to exercise his faith.
So what about us? What do we do when a challenge arises? When a danger lurks? Do we trust in the resources of this world, or do we trust in God? When things are going well, we might say, “Of course I trust in God.” But when it comes down to putting that into action, are we willing to trust completely in God alone? Honestly, I’m afraid that I don’t. It’s easy to talk a good talk, to think to myself that of course I will always trust so completely in God. But often my faith seems so small when it comes to the actual doing. May God help me to trust Him more.