When God Lends a Hand
Whether you are digging a trench, felling a tree, cleaning the windows, or pulling the weeds, the saying is very true: “Many hands make light work!” It is much simpler and sometimes more enjoyable when many contribute their efforts for a task.
In our lives, we can experience the many hands of God’s work. Before their captivity in Babylon, Israel had heard the prophets preach for years God’s hand was against them. “His power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him” (Ezra 8:22). Isaiah told the people, “I will turn my hand upon thee, And purely purge away thy dross” (Isaiah 1:25). Such a process would certainly purify God’s people, but there would be the pain of chastening.
As Ezra leads some of the captives out of Babylon, he is very aware of the other hands of God. Six times in chapters seven and eight, Ezra mentions the hand of God aiding them in their mission. The hand of provision (7:6, 9) turned Artexerxes into a philanthropist. He gave generously silver, wheat, wine, oil, and “salt without prescribing how much” (7:22). The hand of provision released the captives with extraordinary treasure. God’s work would not lack God’s supply.
The hand of partnership (7:22; 8:18) provided Ezra with the people he needed to do God’s work. It was by God’s mercy, Ezra realizes, he was blessed to be commissioned to such a purpose. Chief men and men of understanding were co-laborers due to the hand of partnership. God’s work would not lack God’s servants.
The hand of protection (8:22, 31) secured their vulnerable entourage. This caravan of “holy men” and their families, loaded with treasures of Babylon, would have been a prime target for the enemy. Ezra knew God would protect them and exercised his faith in God’s hand of protection. He would safely guide them to Jerusalem. God’s work would not lack God’s security.
Maybe you are faithfully serving the Lord, but it seems you are stuck in the “have-nots” instead of the “haves.” Remember, the Lord’s Prayer which tells us to pray for our daily needs. We do not pray for excess, but Jesus instructed us to pray for the daily provision necessary to do the work God has for us today. Maybe you are faithfully serving the Lord, but it seems you are “going it alone.” Remember, the Lord’s Presence, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). You are never alone, even when it seems no one stands with you but “all forsook” you (2 Timothy 4:16). When God is with you, you have a majority. Maybe you are faithfully serving the Lord, but it seems the Enemy “has your number.” Remember, the Lord’s Promise, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28). The fear of man is a snare. Rest in God’s hand.
When we are devoted to God’s work, He will lend a hand. With His many hands, His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).
July 17, 2018
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