Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”
The bulk of Ezra 9 is Ezra praying prayers of repentance. He is ashamed because of Israel’s great sin against their holy God. He does praise God for being so gracious.
“What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved and have given us a remnant like this.
Even so, the heaviness of guilt remains. Ezra sits ashamed and appalled before God.
Shecaniah comes to Ezra as the first Nike spokesman. (He has a great name! Say it out loud 2-3 times…) Shecaniah acknowledges all that Ezra has prayed as true but then says, ‘Just do it!’ “Rise up; take the matter into your hands. Take courage and do it.” Ezra rises up and does it! It wasn’t perfect… not a 100%… but good things came about. God was exalted and holiness was promoted in the hearts and lives of His people.
There are times for earnest prayer and there are times to get up and get it done. There are many times when I’ve acted when I should have prayed and prayed when I should have acted. Some excuse inaction with prayer. “I’m waiting on the Lord.” I get that, but have you moved so far ahead of God that He needs time to catch up? Are you that fast?
What we need to do is pray and go and then pray AS we go. Through the Holy Spirit very present in our lives we can be directed as we move. Sometimes we can be paralyzed with the thought of heading in the wrong direction, so we don’t move in any direction. I believe that God is able to redirect me while in motion. And if I am going in the opposite direction, He is fully capable of getting my attention. It’s like the classic illustration: You can’t steer a parked car.
Having a bias for movement can be pleasing to God, I think, as long as I have my heart in tune with Him. If I’m listening as I go, He is pleased with my movement and can lead me. This is much better than inaction, even if I justify it with prayer. God has no problem keeping up with me. He also can get my attention at any moment. So I will move forward. I’ll take courage and just do it.
Father, forgive me when You’ve wanted to lead me but I was sitting in neutral. Thank You for the people in my life that bring my Your strength and courage. Direct my life this day as I live and act for You.