Setting our hearts toward the entreaty of God, some may choose to fast or abstain from food, frivolous activity, or anything that would compete with devotion to God. For those who choose a liquid fast, the body may feel discomfort, craving the usual routine of three solid meals. In those times of “hunger” our hearts and desires can focus more intensely on God receiving that which satisfies more completely than food. A praise chorus “Hungry for You” by Bonnie Low- says it well… “needing your touch, just the touch of your hand…shower down Your sweet, sweet rain on my thirsty land.” Ezra was from the priestly line of Aaron. God chose him to lead the people in restoring the temple at Jerusalem. He first assembled the people (about 1500 men) to return with him. Upon discovering that there were no Levites to assist the priests, he recruited Levitical support to be part of this huge undertaking. Proclaiming a fast, they humbled themselves before God. Best of all, God listened to their entreaty for protection. When we see God’s hand at work, our lives are a witness to Him. – Teresa #Hisgreatwork #Ourgreatneed #recognizingthestrengthofcommunity
Ezra 8:21-9:15 and vv.31-34 English Standard Version (ESV)
Fasting and Prayer for Protection
21 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. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
31 Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes by the way. 32 We came to Jerusalem, and there we remained three days. 33 On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver and the gold and the vessels were weighed into the hands of Meremoth the priest, son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui. 34 The whole was counted and weighed, and the weight of everything was recorded.