The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. - Ezra 8:22b (KJV)
In last week’s blog we began a discussion on the difference between God’s hand of blessing (the good hand of God) and God’s hand of judgment (the backhand of God). When we consider the hands of God, we must remember that there are no greater hands than God’s hands. We can trust in these good hands of God because it is these hands that hold the entire world.
We find an example of this type of trust in God’s good hands in the account of the scribe Ezra in the scriptures. Ezra enjoyed the good hand of God on his life and ministry! However, at that time, Israel was struck by the backhand of God because of their rebellion. God used Babylon as His backhand of judgment against Israel for their sins of idolatry and rebellion against Him. As a result, the temple, representative of Israel’s relationship with God, lay in ruins because of Babylonian rule. Ezra was given the monumental task of bringing revival and restoration to Israel through the rebuilding of the temple.
We see in the scriptures that Ezra first explains why the people of God were experiencing what I refer to as the backhand of God:
But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. - Ezra 5:12 (KJV)
The word house in this scripture is a reference to the temple of God. The temple was extremely essential for worship in the lives of God's people. Without the temple, there could be no sacrificial system, which was the nation’s lifeblood and paramount to maintaining their personal relationship with the true God.
Despite the immensity and difficult of the task of leading the restoration effort, God granted him favor and blessing. Consider Ezra's testimony about the God's hand on his life and ministry!
This 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…For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. – Ezra 7:6 & 9 (KJV)
And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, 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 7:28 (KJV)
And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen. - Ezra 8:18 (KJV)
Ezra truly experienced the truth that if God is for you, (God's good hand) no one can stand against you. In next week’s blog, we will continue our discussion on who receives the backhand of God and how to experience the good hand of God on your life.
Not a Sermon But a Thought,