‘Ezra’s journey to Jerusalem…and yours’ (Ezra 8:21-36)

When Ezra set out for Jerusalem with the ‘second wave’ of 5,000 or more returning exiles with him in Ezra 8:21-36, the journey itself was a test of faith. Before they left, Ezra had advised the Persian King that he would not need the king’s soldiers to accompany them (even though they had with them much gold and silver), because ‘God’s hand would be upon them’. This was a statement that Ezra could well have lived to regret, but he had no need to. Setting out with trust in God, and having that trust in God renewed by prayer and fasting, Ezra and the Jews arrived safely at their destination. All of God’s people are on a journey to the heavenly Jerusalem and this too is a test of faith. The destination is certain and so is the God who calls us home, but the journey itself is a trial that requires faith in the promises of a faithful God.