Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 29: Favor!

… Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him….

“Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done diligently for the house of the God of heaven –for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? Also we certify to you, that concerning any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinim, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them. And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, set magistrates and judges to judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them. And whoever will not do the law of your God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.”

Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem, and has extended mercy to me before the king, and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty princes! And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me. (Ezra 7:6, 23-28)

In this incredible decree from King Artaxerxes, the king authorizes Ezra to reestablish the religious life of Israel in their own land. The Spirit of the Lord had obviously moved upon the heart of the king – he even feared the wrath of heaven if he prohibited the people from doing anything their God required in their Law! In our land and in our time, the relationship between church and state is a little less cut-and-dry, a little trickier to navigate. Still, there are men and women everywhere in government who are people of peace. They are kindly disposed to the cause of God in the world. Let’s begin to pray now for good success in our endeavors and for favor with everyone in positions of authority and influence.

Lord, we know You are Lord of the heavens and the earth. Bring us into favorable relationships with all in authority. Let every aspect of our work be smiled upon, at every turn. [Think here of specific aspects of the project and various types of professionals who will work on it, and pray for them.]

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