The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

06/17/2014

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One More Hand


"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (Jas.2:17).

This is the last of the series about why the prophet Ezra was able to say (6 times) that the hand of the Lord was upon him... Today's verse, from the pen of James, gives us one more important reason. It was Ezra's willingness to step out in faith. We have already seen that he rejected the king's protection on the journey because he was ashamed... He was ashamed because he had fasted and prayed for a safe journey and believed that the gracious hand of the Lord was upon him. This was not an easy thing to do because there were enemies and the potential for ambush along the way. Ezra was justified in his actions because those actions were a display of his great faith, just as James wrote about in today's verse. Is our faith great enough that we are also willing to step out into uncharted waters with the confidence that the hand of the Lord will be upon us? We now come to the last, and perhaps most telling reason that Ezra was sure that the Lord's hand was on him... "The leaders came to me and said, 'The people of Israel, including the priests and Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices.... And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness'" (Ezra 9: 1-2). After everything they had been through, the people displayed their unfaithfulness. A lesser man would have thrown up his hands in frustration and given up on them. Instead, Ezra was moved to prayer and fasting and offered prayers of confession for the people. He even went as far as accepting the responsibility that was his. He encouraged the people to repent and led them to a great restoration.. Even when times seemed the most bleak, Ezra was willing to face difficult situations head-on... It would have been easier to rationalize away any need for change, but this wasn't his style... He knew that the only way for the hand of the Lord to be upon him was to apply his faith in hard times and do the right thing. Is our faith so strong that we face up even when things aren't going well? If we want God's gracious hand upon us, we must actively seek the Lord and trust that he will see us through... It worked for Ezra, and it will work for us....

Have a great day... Do good... Give God the credit and glory... Love mark Phil.4:11

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