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Who Says?

Click here to read Ezra 5 on BibleGateway.com

listeningBack in the yesteryear when you were younger, you may have come home from a hard day of sitting in a school desk pretending to listen to a teacher, when lo and behold, to what did your wondering eyes should appear, but the last brownie in the pan. Now comes the moral dilemma; there is one brownie, and three siblings.  Who shall have it?  Let’s further pretend that an older sibling came in and took the entire block of sweetness while you debated with yourself. Let’s assume still further, inspired by the passion of a lost love, you reached for the pilfered ambrosia, with the shriek of a berserker going into battle.

You: Give it back.
Older Sibling: No, it’s mine.
You: Who says?
Older Sibling: Mom.

Ah, the appeal to a higher power.  Who can argue against it?  At this point, you probably had the choice of seeking out the maternal authority (at which point the object of desire would have begun its long descent though your sibling’s intestinal tract), or of accepting defeat and grabbing a celery stick. When the Mom Card has been played, the game is over.


Where does the right to act come from? Does it come from yourself?  Oh, in some circumstances, it could be argued.  You stand up and take something with no outside argument, but more often than not, there is an appeal to authority.  Kids appeal to teachers; students to the teacher or principal. Kings in the middle ages, rightly or wrongly, claimed Divine Right to rule.  Lawyers appeal to the Constitution, and you can be any type of lawyer, from a divorce lawyer, to a New York personal injury attorney or any other.   We act when a higher power gives us the impetus to act.

Have you ever done something extravagant for God?  Have you ever actually considered selling all your possessions and giving the money to the poor?  Have you ever thought about quitting your job and becoming a missionary?  Why would you do it?   Clearly, it doesn’t make sense to a rational person.  Odds are, not even remotely.  Did you know how it would turn out?  Not a chance.  Often, that’s what following God is all about.  We do things that don’t make sense to us, and trust that God will work it out.  The truth is, if you listen to God and really strive to be close to Him, you will end up doing the crazy and the impossible.  That’s the kind of God he is.

So, to take it a step further, if it doesn’t make sense to you, how would it possibly make sense to other people?  If you think that giving up a solid career to go work in Africa is crazy, and yet you are willing to do it, then imagine how crazy it must seem to someone who is not willing.  If you find it difficult to surrender your rights to God, and yet you are convinced enough to it,  imagine how insane that must seem to people who are not convinced.  People that are truly following (looking in your direction, Mr. Baptist) seem downright nuts to those looking from the outside.


When the people of Israel were rebuilding their temple (Ezra 5), the surrounding authorities (note: those that had not experienced God’s hand as directly) immediately said, “Who told you to do this?”  Where did the command to rebuild come from?  Yes, from the king, and they could have simply said that. But that’s not what the people answered: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth.”   The king may have written the decree, but the reason we are doing the impossible is because we are listening to God.

That’s how it is.  If you try to completely surrender to God’s plan, people will think you’re crazy (it might even cross your own mind once or twice).  The disciples left their livelihood to follow Jesus; Elisha burned his means of survival; Abraham left his home.  It’s crazy.  It’s downright irresponsible.  Using the last of your food to feed a strange prophet when your son is starving is foolish.  Following God often does not make sense.  It never has, and if you truly want to be close to God, sooner or later you will have to accept that others will not accept your choices, and consequently may not accept you.  You will have to choose to either listen to the advice of others, or  to follow what God is telling you, no matter how crazy, or how lonely it seems.

Because He said so.

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