The Hand of the Lord
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 84:9-12 | Ezra 7:1 – 8:20 | 1 Corinthians 4:1-21 | Proverbs 20: 28-30
Today’s Scripture Focus: Ezra 7:1 – 8:20
This Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. (Ezra 7:6 NIV)
In yesterday’s reading we saw that the “eye of God” was upon his people. He was watching over them–he knew their problems and was acting on their behalf. It is a comforting truth that we all need to hear.
This passage repeatedly mentions the “hand of the Lord.” God blessed Ezra in extraordinary ways because “the hand of the Lord” was “on him.” The hand of the Lord being upon you is his blessing. Just as in the Old Testament, where we see fathers placing their hands on their children to bless them, and just as Jesus placed his hands on children to bless them, so the Heavenly Father himself places his hand upon Ezra and extraordinary blessings followed.
Blessings like God moving on the heart of pagan Persian King to do everything he could to see that the temple would be built: “The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.” Imagine that! The king granted him everything he asked for. Amazing! He arrived in Jerusalem safely “because the gracious hand of the Lord was with him” (9).
The hand of the Lord also gave Ezra courage to lead the people courageously. He knew that God was with him blessing his efforts.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me (Ezra 7:27-28).
Why was the hand of the Lord on Ezra? The text makes it clear:
“The gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel” Ezra 7:9-10 (NIV).
God’s blessing (his hand) was on him because he was devoted to studying and observing God’s word, and teaching it to others. He was clearly a man devoted to the Lord and his word, and therefore, the hand of the Lord was upon him.
Look and pray for the hand of the Lord to be upon you as you devote yourself to studying the word and putting it into practice–and as you share it with others.
Apart from him we can do nothing, but with the hand of blessing upon his we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Father, help me to delight in your word. May I cherish it, meditate on it, memorize it, and allow it to work in and through me. As your Word penetrates my mind and heart, let me see your hand of blessing. Amen.