Ezra 7:6 The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.
This points out a very important truth that comes out again and again throughout the Bible: God provides, but He often uses people as His instruments to do so – even non-believing people. There is also another truth here: often, we have to ask for what we need. That truth is most famously found in the words of Jesus: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8) We generally take that as telling us to ask God for things, but sometimes it means we are to ask people. Actually, this applies in many human interactions. James said, “You do not have, because you do not ask God,” (James 4:2) but that applies to asking people, too. Our passage says Ezra got all he asked for because the hand of God was upon him. That’s a very important point. Jesus spoke many times of asking “in His name.” That doesn’t mean just tacking His name onto whatever request we come up with, but rather asking in line with His character and who He is. Ezra was making requests of a Gentile king, but he was doing so as a representative of the God of Israel, so God saw to it that his requests were granted.
I find myself in precisely this position today. I believe God is going to provide all the funds we need for the land, building, and operating expenses for the senior-care facility He is directing us to build, but I’ve got to ask for those funds. I’m not to be pie-in-the-sky about it, but have a concrete business plan drawn up. Right now I don’t have enough information to be able to flesh out that business plan, so I’ve got to do the necessary research. One thing that is a complete question mark right now is how many employees we will have and what we will pay them. That being the bulk of our operating cost, having that nailed down is essential. I need to be proactive in seeking out and setting up visits to similar facilities in the area. We have made contact with a church-run facility in another prefecture and their attitude is very helpful, but we need to know what the local pay scale is for such workers. I am to operate in faith, but be hard-headed and practical at the same time. I am not to miss God’s provision, of information, money, or anything else, for failing to ask!
Father thank You for this very clear, specific Word this morning. Help me follow through in full obedience. Thank You for all the things You are doing to assure us that this is Your idea and You are in charge. Help each of us involved to recognize and fulfill our part in Your plan, so that Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!