Not for Themselves
“I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’” -Ezra 8:22
Here in this situation Ezra was a bit ashamed to ask for the king for protection, so what he did was he asked the people to fast and pray to God for Him to be their protection. Their purpose was not for them to be safe, but their journey was necessary for the temple to be built and for God to be praised. The Persian king, Artaxerxes, told the to go and build back in Jerusalem, and he sent them off in the name of God. He sort of recognized that God was their God. So going out and asking for the kings protection did not seem like a viable option. The name of the Lord needed to be praised. Ezra knew that.
What is most interesting here is that Ezra was not doing this to proclaim his name or make himself famous, he was doing all this in the Name of the Lord to make His name known through out the world. God knows that and was pleased and granted his request to be protected. Often what I get caught up with is that I want God to do things so that I can get the glory, or that I can feel better about myself. But the real reason on why I should be doing things is that I am to praise the Lord God of all. To praise his name no matter what. My concern should be not of how to make me famous, but what can I do to be aligned in His will and be part of His plan.
Lord, sometimes I think I love myself too much. Lord I want to love you more.