Hedging Your Bets
The other day, I was humbled by something I read in the Old Testament book of Ezra. For it to make any sense, I need to set the scene. After decades of rebellion against God, the Almighty punished the Jewish people by exiling them from their homeland. After seventy years, as prophesied and promised, the Israelites gradually made their way back to Jerusalem. Ezra led one of the groups of returning exiles. It was a dangerous journey.
Ezra 8:21-23: 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. 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." So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. (ESV)
Ezra knew about God’s promised protection. And he proclaimed it to the king of the land he was leaving. Then he walked by faith. He didn’t ask for soldiers. He petitioned his Heavenly Father.
How often do we do that? I know I’m sometimes guilty of hedging my bets. You know what I mean. It goes something like this: Lord I trust you in this, I really do. But I’m also going to…. Whether it’s having a back-up plan, asking someone to help us after God has clearly told us not to, or taking a step outside of our comfort zone instead of the leap of faith we’re being called to make. We either trust God, or we don’t. Ezra did. We need to as well.
Just something that’s humbled me along the way.