We read today of two outstanding characters with an active faith. God could work with them to perform His will, they are great examples for us. First we have Ezra, a direct descendent of Aaron (7:5) “who had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach …” (verse 10). The “king of Persia … granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him” (verses 1,6). May that be true of us because of our commitment to serve our king. And as we develop our faith may we gain “a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22). The attitude of Ezra convinced the Persian king, so Ezra “took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was on me” (verse 28).

God’s message through Hosea is one that applies to our world today given its general ignorance of God. He tells His prophet, “My anger burns against them … they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (8:5,7). And they, the northern nation of Israel to whom Hosea’s words were directed, were soon no more. A whirlwind is developing for our world as people convince themselves there is no Creator who watches over them and sees all that they do.

In Acts 27 the ship sailing to Rome reaped “the whirlwind”, but wonderfully Christ was watching over Paul, who said that “this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told” (verses 23-25).

Paul’s faith was supreme in the crisis. Would ours have been? Have we set our heart to the things of God? God’s word reveals the extremity of the crisis to come. But, as Paul wrote, let us make sure “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Hebrews 10:39).