Morning, September 24, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, ‘The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.’” — Ezra 8:22
A convoy for many reasons would have been desirable for the pilgrim band, but a holy embarrassment would not allow Ezra to seek one. He feared that the heathen king should think his professions of faith in God to be mere hypocrisy, or imagine that the God of Israel was not able to preserve his own worshippers. He could not bring his mind to lean on human help in a matter so evidently of the Lord, and therefore the caravan set out with no visible protection, guarded by him who is the sword and shield of his people. It is of great concern that few believers feel this holy protectiveness for God’s reputation; even those who in a measure walk by faith, occasionally mar the luster of their life by desiring aid from man. It is a very blessed thing to have no props and no protections, except but to stand upright on the Rock of Ages, upheld by the Lord alone. Would any believers seek state funding for their Church, if they remembered that the Lord is dishonored by their asking Caesar’s aid, as if the Lord could not supply the needs of his own cause! Should we run so hastily to friends and relations for assistance, if we remembered that the Lord is magnified by our understood reliance upon his solitary arm? My soul, wait only upon God. “But,” says one, “are not such means to be used?” Assuredly they are; but our fault seldom lies in their neglect: far more frequently it springs out of foolishly believing in them instead of believing in God. Few go too far in rejecting the world’s help and system; but very many sin greatly in making too much of it. Learn, dear reader, to glorify the Lord by leaving means unutilized, if by using them you would dishonor the name of the Lord.