In today’s passage we read about Ezra preparing the people to return to Israel. Ezra is a remarkable guy. He is faithful in pursuing God’s will. King Artaxerxes, king of Persia, gave Ezra a decree permitting Israelites who wished to do so the right to return to Jerusalem. You see, like Daniel, God was with Ezra. God was with Ezra because Ezra was with God. What I mean by this is that Ezra came to God. You know God is not some moving target; He is consistent in His will and purpose. When people are separated from God it is because they have walked away from Him and when people are with God it is because they returned to Him. Now I realize what I’m about to write here will be confusing but God does pursue people but He pursues them for the purpose of having them return to Him. God wants you with Him, and He will work to bring you home, but in so doing He will not change – you will.
So Ezra was with God. He pursued the will of God. Returning a remnant to Israel has always been a part of God’s purpose and plan. You really didn’t need to pray to find out if this was God’s will. If you know God’s Word, you know His will on this matter. That said, it would have been understandable if Ezra and party just started off at once toward their homeland. They didn’t need to worry about whether or not it was within God’s permissive will to do so. Still, every journey begins with a first step and Ezra took the best possible first step. He led his people in prayer and sacrifice to God. They sought God’s guidance and protection on the journey. They revealed their desire to be faithful and obedient to God. That is what I call starting off on the right foot.
Far too often brothers we run off without seeking God’s will. Even when we know God’s will we will run off without seeking His guidance and protection. Does a soldier run off to battle without his boots and weapon? Does a firefighter run off to a fire without his firefighting equipment? No. Every journey starts with a first step and successful journey’s start off on the right foot. Your first step in everything guys should be to seek God’s will, guidance, and protection. If your journey starts off that way, good things will come to pass.