Ezra – A brief moment of grace
But now we have been given a brief moment of grace, for the Lord our God has allowed a few of us to survive as a remnant. Ezra 9:8
Ezra the priest served among the exiles to Babylon and is a giant of the faith, one of the true heroes of the Old Testament. Not only did he write most of 1 & 2 Chronicles, but also the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and probably the great Psalm 119. He was a historian and a theologian before there were such terms and eventually would lead the group of 120 that would gather the canon of the Old Testament – This is the brother who the Lord used to help assemble the Old Testament!
Ezra served at a time when so many of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others were coming to pass – things spoken decades and centuries before were happening all around him. Knowing Israel's history and the Books of the Law as he did, seeing the current events and the fulfillment of prophecy just made Him love and trust the Lord even more.
God speaks of things that are not yet as if they are, and then they happen! In the most intricate detail. Ezra doesn't just believe the promises of God – he is living in them!
"Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created." Psalm 119: 89-90
This is the confidence Ezra had in the Lord and this is how he conducted his life. So when he was chosen to lead a group of exiles back to Jerusalem it says, "the gracious hand of his God was on him… he had determined to study and obey the law of the Lord and to teach those laws and regulations to the people of Israel." (Ezra 7:9-10)
But what he found upon his arrival was a people that had conformed to the world around them. They hadn't repented and honored the Lord for opening the door for their return, they had learned nothing in defeat and exile. Ezra's heart was broken.
He fell before the Lord and prayed: "O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now, we have been steeped in sin. That is why we and our kings and our priests have been at the mercy of the pagan kings of the land. We have been killed, captured, robbed, and disgraced, just as we are today. But now we have been given a brief moment of grace, for the Lord our God has allowed a few of us to survive as a remnant." (Ezra 9:6-8)
Dear one, like Ezra and the children of Israel, we have been given a 'brief moment of grace,' a moment to consider the times we have been blessed to live in. To consider how Gods hand has brought us here. To consider with humility His offer of adoption as sons and daughters, the inheritance He is giving us in Christ Jesus. Will we honor Him as Lord and King? Or will we compromise with the world around us?
You don't have to wonder if God keeps His promises, you know. Jesus is His answer. Like Ezra just look around, His handiwork is everywhere. It's all around you, behind you and before you – you're living in it.
Our Promise Land is Jesus. He is our Rock, our Fortress, our Dwelling Place and our God.