Today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 18:13-19:37; Acts 21:1-17; Psalm 149:1-9; Proverbs 18:8
King Hezekiah gives the king of Assyria all the silver and gold he can find to stop him from attacking Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:14-16).
But doing so only bankrupted Israel and made it difficult for the nation to survive and protect themselves. As a case in point, the field commander of Assyria is able to take up a position beside the crucial aqueduct that provided Jerusalem’s water supply (2 Kings 18:17). When we give in to sin in one area of our lives it becomes difficult to protect the other area of our lives. What we should do, and what Hezekiah should have done, is turn to God for protection from the enemy (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
The Assyrian field commander uses the same tactics that Satan uses on us today (2 Kings 18:19-25). He tries to demoralize us by pointing out our weaknesses. But if you think about it, these are true statements. We are weak. We should not be confident in ourselves or anyone else (e.g. Egypt). Instead we should be confident in God and God alone.
Just like Assyria, Satan doesn’t really want to fight. He wants us to give up and not try because He knows that if we fight, with God on our side, he will lose. Too often we just believe the lies and go down without even trying.
Another thing the field commander does that Satan also does is to convince us that we will be better off giving in to sin (2 Kings 18:32). But these are lies. God’s plans are always better for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
Hezekiah’s three-fold reaction in 2 Kings 19:1-2 is commendable. He recognized the seriousness of the situation, he went to the Temple, and he sought Isaiah the prophet. When we are faced with tremendous challenges we should do the same: recognize the severity, turn to God, and seek the advice of godly men and women.
God’s response, through Isaiah, is just what He would say to us today: “Don’t be concerned by the words of the Assyrian king [Satan]” (2 Kings 19:6). God also promises to deliver Jerusalem from the danger (2 Kings 19:7). And this is exactly what happens (2 Kings 19:35-37).
Notice that God did this because Hezekiah prayed (2 Kings 19:20). Never underestimate the power of prayer.
One of the most encouraging parts of God’s response is 2 Kings 19:22). We should never take the attacks of non-believers or Satan personally. These people are really insulting God. That is something they will have to answer for.
Its interesting to see all the cities in which there were believers as we read through the book of Acts. The faith in Christ was rapidly expanding. If only that were the case today.
Even though Paul receives a prophecy that he will be arrested and turned over to Rome (to be put to death), he insists on going back to Jerusalem (Acts 21:11-14). While it is hard to say if God was warning Paul not to go to Jerusalem at this time Paul’s willingness to do whatever God asked of him is commendable. If nothing else, God was preparing Paul for what was going to happen.
Even if we misinterpret God’s will for us and do something that He didn’t intend, He can use it for good (Romans 8:28).
Isn’t it fantastic that God delights in us? I think it is great to know that the One who created me enjoys me, even on my worst day. A great way to start the day is to remind ourselves of this very fact. Keeping this perspective in life is very humbling. And those that are humble will be blessed by God (Psalm 149:4).
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