Todays readings.. Ezra 7, Hosea 8, Acts 27
We read today of two outstanding characters, believers who had an active faith with whom God could work to perform his will, they are great examples for us. First we have Ezra who is a direct descendent of Aaron [ch.7 v.5] “who had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach …” [v.10] The “king of Persia … granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him. ” [v.1,6]
May that be true of you and I because of our commitment to serve our king, and, as we develop our faith, to see him ever more clearly as we gain “a true heart in full assurance of faith” [Heb.10 v.22]. The attitude of Ezra convinced the Persian king and so, says Ezra, “I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was on me” [v.28]
God’s message through Hosea is one that applies to our world today and its total lack of faith and ignorance of God. He tells his prophet, “My anger burns against them … they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” [8 v.5,7] And they, the northern nation of Israel to whom he was a prophet, were soon no more. The whirlwind for our world is developing more and more – and is looking increasingly fearsome, especially in the long term, as the people of the world convince themselves there is no Creator who watches over them and sees all that they do..
In our Acts chapter (27) the ship sailing to Rome reaped “the whirlwind,” but wonderfully ‘Christ’ was watching over Paul and he was able to tell those with him that “this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.” [v.23-25]
Paul’s faith was supreme in the crisis – and our faith? How have we “set” our heart? Ezra is an example. God’s word reveals to us the extremity of the crisis that faces our world – and which it deserves. But, as Paul wrote, let us make sure “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” [Hebrews 10 v.39]