Well, Ezra proceeds; and he gathers together out of Israel chief men. "And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava: and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi" (Ezr_8:15). There was a lack in the work, you observe, a lack of energy for the work. "Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding. And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief, at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God. And by the good hand of our God upon us, they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel," and so on. "Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God." That is the point. It is not asking for power, but it is afflicting themselves before God. It is humiliation of spirit before the Lord, that the Lord may be able to entrust us with a blessing. "I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers" - it was not outward power: that was not the thing - "and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us." And instead of a band of soldiers protecting them, God protected them, which was much better. So they came up through all their enemies.