God's Roll of Honor (continued)
And then I notice that the next thing in the chapter is Ezra's statement: "I found none of the sons of Levi there" (Ezra 8:15).
Why was this? The Levites were those who had an inheritance only in God; they had no inheritance in the land (Joshua 14:4-5). To go to a land of desolation in which, in any case, they had no inheritance, does not look very promising, and they were getting more in Babylon than they could get there, and so the Levites could not see how they were going to get their bread and butter, and they knew they had no right to enter into the land-realm of things; and because they had no inheritance in the land, but had to trust the Lord, they stayed in Babylon. Those who had to come out and have their portion only in God, without seeing where "on earth" it is coming from, were miserably few; no Levites came out!
And is it not the same in the ministry of the Word, when you come out of a system where you are sure of your supply? It is a test of faith to have a secured position in the world of religion, and to come out and have your portion only in God, nothing in the world; and we find not many can stand up to that. So we find no Levite in that record of names.
Giving God a Chance
The next thing is, Ezra proclaimed a fast (verses 21-23). What does this represent, spiritually? Just this - the Lord seeing you through! That is all. Oh, yes, but it is a test of faith again, for it is a journey of faith. Can the Lord see us through, had we better not ask the king? In other words, make an appeal for help to men, to the world; make sure of a safe conduct through - that is what it means;but we have taken our stand that we can go through without the resources of the world; we can count on God, He will see us through; that is the testimony, beloved - GOD SEEING US THROUGH - that is our safe conduct, successful and triumphant conduct. Put in Psalms 121 - 134 after Ezra 8:21; notice there is a going up in them all the time, and a strong note of trust and victory; some have thought they were sung on this journey. They express that utter confidence in God - "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people." That is something better than all the horsemen and horses of this world. The Lord can see you through. Trust Him; don't go down to Egypt or to the king of Babylon for help; give the Lord a chance to maintain His own testimony. And so they went on this journey of faith and the Lord vindicated their confidence.
(continued with # 9)