Read Ezra 7:20-21
Recall that Artaxerxes got scared by the Jews’ adversaries and put a halt to their progress in the midst of rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple there (chapter 4). This same king who’d been convinced that he’d lose money and power if the Jews continued their renovation project has an utter change of heart by chapter 7. Here we see him willing to pay for whatever the Jews need to accomplish their endeavors. He also declares that the people should do as Ezra says, with haste. So, one minute the king is trembling in his sandals because Jews might not pay taxes. After all, they’ve a history of sticking it to the kings of yesteryear and then whamo! This same king is reaching into his own pocket to aid them in their mission.
It makes me smile because it shows me that God is in complete control. He has the power to alter perception and change minds. He can turn our most staunch reviler into a devoted supporter. He can take the smack talking, back-stabbing bunch and use them to fund our ministerial dreams. Yep, I’m smiling wide because my Savior, my Abba, my Daddy, is that powerful and He loves me enough to move other people, their finances, resources and tongues on my behalf. Well I know He’s made me eat my words, swallow haughtiness, and surrender things for the betterment of those I’ve found myself none too fond of. Amazing, really, the depths of His reach, the power of His insistence. I’d prefer to just stay close though so I don’t have to be humbled into support. What about you?
Father, we want to be part of whatever You’re doing, wherever You’re doing it. Show us how to help. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.