Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 37-38:22; Galatians 6:1-18; Psalm 65:1-13; Proverbs 23:248
Isaiah 37 and 38 recount the same events that were recorded in 2 Kings 18 and 19 (see my comments).
Hezekiah was a good king who reacts properly to the bullying from Assyria. He recognized that Judah needed God’s help. He prays. He sought God’s counsel through the prophets (Isaiah 37:1-2). When we face troubling times we should do likewise. When we are under attack God is there to help us and lead us out of it.
Later when Hezekiah receives a letter from Assyria reiterating the same threats he takes it right to God and prays (Isaiah 37:9-20). God is our Father. He loves us and wants us to bring our problems to Him. There are no spiritual rewards for toughing it out on our own. That is pride. We are weak and God knows it. He wants us to know it too. Judah was no match for Assyria. There was no way Judah could win even one battle, never mind the war. Hezekiah admitted his weakness to God with confidence, knowing that God can, and will, take care of it.
Through Isaiah God assures Hezekiah that He is in control of the situation and that Assyria’s threats would amount to nothing (Isaiah 37:5-7, 21-29). And, sure enough, that is exactly what happened (Isaiah 37:8-9, 36-38). Assyria’s many chariots and military might were no match for God. Anyone who thinks they can defy God or, worse, thinks that God does not exist, is in for a rude awakening.
Critics of Christianity point to Christians who sin as proof that Christianity if false. This, of course, makes no sense. That is like saying that all education is a joke because of the failures of a single teacher. And no one says that. It interesting how atheists have one litmus test for the Bible and another litmus test for everything else.
Christians are people just like everyone else. We are still prone to sin. If we weren’t God wouldn’t give us so many warnings about it in the Bible. It is even possible for a Christian to fall into sin such that the sin takes over their life. In this case that person’s church family should help restore that person (Galatians 6:1). We should make each person’s burdens our own (Galatians 6:2).
Yet, we are not responsible for another’s behavior. We are each responsible for ourselves (Galatians 6:5). This is not a contradiction. We should always reach out to help someone who has fallen. But the ultimate responsibility of that person’s spiritual restoration is with that person. If someone rejects the help that is offered, they will have to answer for that.
There is nothing more important than the spiritual health of another human being, especially a brother or sister in Christ (Galatians 6:9-10). Not football. Not work. We are commanded by God to help each other. It is not optional.
Paul wrote this letter to the churches in Galatia because they were starting to think that faith in Jesus was not enough to be saved. They had come to believe that they needed to keep certain rituals as well. This is a big lie of Satan. In the case of the Galatians it was circumcision. In modern-day denominations, like Catholicism, it is baptism and other “sacraments”.
Baptism does not save anyone. The Bible makes this clear. Baptism is a public profession of faith that is to be made after a person is saved. Catholics believe that baptizing an infant assures that child of going to heaven. Not true. All that matters is whether a person has been transformed into a new creation (Galatians 6:15). And the only way to be transformed into a new creation is to be born again (Romans 12:2 et al.)
God is owed praise (Psalm 65:1). Sadly, though, we do a very poor job of praising God. Its amazing to me how little attention we give God, how much time we spend thinking of ourselves, and yet how much love God has for us. His love for us is completely disproportionate to our love for Him.
This is the most amazing thing about God, in my opinion. Why would God love us so much? We give Him absolutely no reason to. He loves us this much because He chooses too. His love is unconditional and unmerited. The Greek word for this type of love is “agape” and only God is capable of giving it.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post