Mercy and Favor
On July 28, 2022 our youngest daughter and her husband welcomed their first child into this world. They had been trying for some time to conceive. Prayers were being lifted in the hopes that the Lord would bless them. On Christmas Day we got the news that she was indeed carrying a blessing. Her pregnancy was nearly textbook. She had the occasional bouts of nausea but otherwise normal. The new parents named their bundle Ezra Thomas. He is a blond haired blue-eyed handsome little man. We are in love with him.
The name Ezra comes from the Hebrew word azar meaning; help, aid, or protect. The original long form of the name may have been Azaryahu, meaning “God helps” or “God protects.”
Naturally I was curious to read more about the Ezra in the Bible.
Ezra was a direct descendant of Aaron the chief priest, Ezra was a priest and scribe in his own right. His zeal for God and God’s Law encouraged Ezra to lead the second group of Jews back to Israel during King Artaxerxes’s reign over the Persian Empire.
The book of Ezra in the Old Testament provides an account of the Jews’ regathering, of their struggle to survive and to rebuild what had been destroyed. The people of Israel were met with many conflicting emotions as they made their way home to Jerusalem. They had returned to rebuild the walls of their city and the temple within those walls, but there was something else that needed to be rebuilt: their spiritual life. Ezra declared that they were still God’s people and that God had not forgotten them. (But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage. Ezra 9:8)
Quite a feat for someone so young, he was 23. Ezra is credited with the unification of the Israelites, which was necessary in order for the people to renew their fellowship with the Lord.
In his account, Ezra proclaims that God kept His word, and it shows that when God’s people remained faithful to Him, He would continue to bless them.
Our prayer as a family, for our dear sweet grandson, is that he comes to know the Lord. His namesake leaves a lot for our Ezra to live up to. But the faith his parents have in our merciful God leads me to believe he will live a life all-in for our God. Our daughter and son in law remained faithful to God even in their struggles to conceive. They never doubted that He would bless them with a child of their own one way or another. God's mercy and favor were surely upon them, and we all join together in prayer that our Ezra will live a life according to God's will for him. (He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. Ezra 7:6)
Realistically he may never rescue anyone in exile, but we believe the Lord will use him to bring others to a working relationship with Him and win hearts to the God we know will never leave them, nor forget them even in their lowest moments and furthest journeys from the life God has planned for them.
(Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. Ezra 9:9)
To all of you reading this, may you sense the mercy and favor of our Lord upon your life, no matter where you are on your journey. And I pray that you never feel forsaken in any of your bondage.