Praise be to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me. Ezra 7:27-28
God put it in the heart of a pagan king to allow Ezra to go to Jerusalem, plus he gave him the necessary resources so that regular temple sacrifices could continue. Possibly the king had mixed motives and was trying to appease all gods so that things would go well in his kingdom (verse 23). Nevertheless, it was an answer to Ezra’s prayers.
When Ezra realised that God orchestrated for him to receive favour from the king, he took courage. It wasn’t when he felt ready, equipped or adequate for the task but when he saw the favour of God on his life. Ezra knew he couldn’t rely on his own sufficiency to make the journey, but realising God’s enabling grace was on him (the hand of the Lord), he knew it was the right time to make the long and dangerous journey.
As Christians, we’re often slow to recognise God’s favour. Often we think it’s circumstantial, good luck or our own good planning when things go well rather than acknowledging God’s favour. Thus we don’t take the opportunities to take hold of God’s enabling and step out of our comfort zones to make a difference in God’s kingdom.
Furthermore, it’s often our desire for God’s enabling which creates the opportunity for God to intervene and show us his favour.