“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.”
We meet Ezra at the beginning of a 900-mile journey to Jerusalem with the Jewish nation, returning from exile after Nehemiah repaired the city wall. Before the descendant of Aaron begins the long trek, he proclaims a fast for safe passage. Since Ezra testified to the king about God’s goodness and power, he didn’t want to ask for a military escort; instead, he trusted the Lord for safe passage. God didn’t disappoint; he answered Ezra’s call.
Ezra seeks protection for the children because of their vulnerability during wartime. The vast treasures they possessed made the group a target for robbers. Only with divine protection could the nation pass unharmed on the long journey. Pursuing God first gave them the security they needed to move boldly forward and return to their home.
Seeking God through prayer and fasting before a long journey helps prepare the way. Like Ezra, I often ask the Lord for smooth passage, asking Him to take care of any obstacles and challenges for us, whatever the journey. Anxiety and fear try to stop me, but with God, I find the strength to take the first step.
“Lord, remove my anxiety and fill my heart with excitement,” I prayed in preparation for my latest trip. Fasting sugar and gluten, anxiety plagued me as I thought about the 400-mile journey home to Pennsylvania in the middle of winter. What if it snowed? What about black ice? What if something happened to Ron in my absence? The anxiety-ridden thoughts plagued my mind, but when I turned them over to the Lord, he replaced them with excitement and anticipation for the trip.
Taking the first step on any journey requires courage; doing it afraid defines bravery. Both require divine assistance, whether physically taking a trip or starting a transformational voyage. When we decide to move from one place to another, seeking God’s guidance and protection will make the journey easier.
Decide what journey you want to take. Fast and pray, seeking the Lord’s divine assistance. Don’t take the first step until you consult God and find His direction. Trusting the Lord to provide, protect, and lead you will fill your heart with anticipation and excitement for the journey, no matter how difficult the terrain.
- How can I apply today’s devotion to my life?
- What trip do I want to take this year?
- What divine assistance do I need from God to make the journey?
Lord, thank You for bending down and listening to our prayers. As we seek You, let us find You. Go before us and smooth the way for our journey. Guide and direct us safely to our destination, whether physical or transformational. As we take the first steps, bless our efforts and encourage our hearts. Let us honor and serve You well as we follow You. IJNIP. Amen