When exiled Jews traveled from Babylon to Jerusalem with Ezra they didn't have any military protection. There were upwards of 6000 untrained men, women and children journeying almost 900 miles. Not a likely group to survive four months in a bandit infested region. They had an even bigger target on them because their cargo included 3 million dollars worth of treasure that King Artaxerxes gave them to return to their temple.
Ezra was embarrassed to ask the King for soldiers to escort them home. Prior to this moment he had spoken emphatically about God's ability and faithfulness. Asking for the King's soldiers to help would have been unnecessary. Ezra asked the people to fast, indicating that Ezra believed in God's power but understood the impending dangers. Failing to humbly ask God for His protection and favor with a pure hearts was not an option.
Today our scenarios are different but the dangers remain. We do all that we can to ensure our safety but there comes a point where we have to ask God to supernaturally intervene on our behalf. Being completely handicapped I am more vulnerable than I used to be. I have to relinquish my fear and embrace the confidence that Ezra possessed. I want to be able to walk through open doors that God gives me so my children will see that God is faithful and powerful.
Ezra 8:21-23, 31
There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.
On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.