From the Blog
|A Prayer That Our Hearts Be Open to God's Word|
“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”—Ezra 7:10
“For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law”—Nehemiah 8:9
Ezra was a scribe who set himself to study the Law of the Lord and to obey it. Later, we read that he instructed Israel, and thankfully, the people had ears to listen to what God was saying. This stands in contrast to a past generation of Israelites who refused to hear the words of the Lord through the prophets. They might have heard the words but they dismissed them out of hand. As the old saying goes, no one is as deaf as the person who does not want to hear.
What are the characteristics of those who are ready to hear God’s Word? They listen to His word with anticipation, wanting to be instructed. In fact, they love hearing the Word of God even when it rebukes them. They have an appetite for spiritual things and “like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk” so that they might grow in their walk with God. In other words, they’re eager to be both comforted and confronted by the Word. Second, they are willing to hear the Word despite the competition from other voices. Above the noise of this world, they pick out the voice of the True Shepherd and follow wherever He leads.
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|A Prayer for Faith in Desperate Circumstances|
“O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”—2 Chronicles 20:12
Imagine being responsible not only for your own fate, but also the fate of a nation. That’s the predicament Jehoshaphat found himself in when a great army was moving against the land of Judah. Filled with fear, he “set his face to seek the Lord” and called the people together to fast and pray for God’s mercy and protection. He prayed earnestly, confessing his sin and the sin of his people, reminding himself of God’s greatness and the covenant with His people. Jehoshaphat understood that he was no match for the overwhelming superiority of the invading armies. If there was to be deliverance, God would have to directly intervene.
This prayer of desperation was also accompanied with worship. “Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord.” (v.18). Next, Jehoshaphat turned military strategy on its head by sending a choir ahead of his own army! Should we be surprised when we read, “And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed” (v.22).
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