“For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.”” – Ezra 8:22 (ESV)
Before the Southern Kingdom of Judah was conquered and taken captive, then exiled (for the most part) to Babylon and other Chaldean cities, Jeremiah had delivered God’s prophecy that it would happen. Jeremiah also delivered a prophecy (Jeremiah 24:6) from God that He would bring them back to the land. Ezra was a scribe. Scribes were the theologians who studied the Law of Moses and was an authority of the same. When Cyrus became king of Persia, God motivates Cyrus to send exiled Jews back to Jerusalem. This happens in stages and it is action that fulfills God’s prophecy through Jeremiah. “in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, (Ezra 1:1)” The journey to Jerusalem was be long and dangerous. Thieves who robbed for survival posed a threat to travelers. Caravans traveled with protection for safety. Ezra and the people had professed their trust in God for protection. Ezra did not want to confuse the king regarding their trust in God’s so they entreated God for safety with a prayerful fast. God honored their prayer of faith and gave His protection. God promises and God delivers on his promises.