How many of our daily decisions are driven by fear? In my reading tonight, this verse stood out to me:
Ezra 8:22-23 - For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
To recap, Ezra had told the king that he and his men would go rebuild God's temple, and that in this process, the GOD of the universe would protect him against their enemies. Because of this testimony, Ezra was ashamed to ask the king for a protective guard on their dangerous journey. Instead, he fasted and prayed - asking God to protect them - why? So that GOD's name might be glorified in the eyes of this pagan king and his entire kingdom.
This brings me back to my initial question - how many of our decisions are motivated by fear? Have you heard anyone say that they’re voting for a particular candidate because they’re afraid of what will happen if the opposing candidate makes it into office? How about fear of allowing 'the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free' to find refuge in a nation where many of us have plenty to share? (Skittles, anyone?) Not to mention the inherent and even, at times, unconscious fear, prejudice and mistrust of anyone who looks different than us that is tearing our nation apart one heartbreaking hashtag at a time.
What does this kind of attitude communicate to our neighbors about the power of our God? How does it portray Him to the people we talk to every day?
Do we actually still serve the same GOD who closed the lion's mouths? The same GOD who protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace? Where do we find our protection, our refuge?
In the midst of a culture that is saturated with fear, stress, and anxiety, a firm faith and quiet peace despite the incredibly uncertain circumstances that surround us WILL stand out. God will be glorified in the eyes of the whole kingdom when we choose to fast and pray and then step out in faith to follow HIM rather than trusting in 'all the king's horses and all the king's men' to make America great again.