It had been many generations since the people of God had served Him; since their hearts had worshipped Him fully. But a new king was on the throne and Hezekiah was leading the people back to God.
After he instructed the priests and Levites to clean out the temple of all the ungodly idols, he called them to celebrate the Passover. For many who came, it was their first time. And they found it refreshing, renewing, restoring; a generation of true hearts returning to the Lord
There was great rejoicing in Jerusalem,
for nothing like this was known
since the days of Solomon
son of David, the king of Israel.
Then the priests and the Levites
stood to bless the people,
and God heard their voice,
and their prayer came
into His holy dwelling place in heaven.
2 Chronicles 31:26-27 HCSB
And in this celebration, a connection was made. The people realized what worship was all about... giving hearts fully to God. So Hezekiah encouraged them to tithe; to be obedient and give the first tenth of all they had, showing that they trusted God with the rest. All that was given was for the priests and Levites who gave their lives to service; who had no income otherwise.
This act of obedience was as difficult to understand then as it is for us now. How can we give the first of what we have... before we pay our bills? And why does it matter? Can't we just take care of our budget, then give God some after?
But that's not faith... that's not what God asks of us.
God wants us to show our devotion to Him by giving the very first, trusting that He will make the ninety percent go farther than the one-hundred ever could.
And look what He did for the Levites and priests. For it sounds much like what Jesus did with the boy's lunch in the feeding the five-thousand. When all the people gave generously and obediently from their hearts, King Hezekiah asked the priests about the pile of things in the temple. Basically inquiring if it was enough.
He learned that the pile was actually the leftovers. That the priests and Levites had already been fed... they had taken what they needed and were satisfied and now these were the leftovers.
We serve a mighty God of multiplication. We need not fear lack, shortage or poverty when we have willing hearts toward obedience. If we will give the first of... well, let's be honest, what He gave us, then He can multiply it for the purpose He intended. And also multiply what we have left so that it satisfies and is more than enough.
Our God can always bring Abundance from Obedience!
What a mighty God we serve!
Just when you think you've run out of ideas... your are revived with a new solution to your problem. And oh how easy it is to take credit for the best of ideas.
But consider that our God, the Creator of all good things, spoke the world into being. So could it be that those words... that great idea... even the thought which revived, could have been from Him?
Several time in the Bible
we ready the phrase,
"The Lord put it into the mind of..."
How wonderful that our God is not distant, not sitting high on His throne distracted only by grand needs of the world. He actually cares about each and every concern we have and will put new ideas into our minds, if only we will be receptive to Him.
It's often so easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of today that we don't take time to ask Him, don't slow down to listen, don't look up to thank Him. And unfortunately if we continue at that pace, we will end up much like the Israelites of old... torn away from thoughts of God by temporary trappings of this world.
Bur our God is one of redemption and second chances. For even the Israelites were given a new covenanr.
But this is the covenant
that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws into their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be My people.
And each person will not teach his fellow citizen,
and each his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,”
because they will all know Me,
from the least to the greatest of them.
God is always speaking.
God is always available.
God is ready and able
to put ideas in our minds...
as well as those from whom we need favor.
Will you ask Him today?
Will you trust Him?
The Influencer of Thought is only a whispered prayer away.
There is no greater story of victory over enemies than this! How I wish to encourage you to read this chapter... just the first 29 verses of 2 Chronicles. And while it's a true story, of real people long ago, it's also the finest example of what God desires for us as well.
For we all face battles. Some we might step into as a result of our own actions. However many, like this one begin when jealousy and pride collide in the hearts of men. And suddenly an enemy approaches bringing threats, even when you were just living life the best you could.
So what will you do?
Bow up, shout back, run and hide?
Or will you, like this king, take a humble turn to bow before the Lord God and ask Him for help. For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You.
2 Chronicles 20:12
We might assume that God would stay in His high, heavenly places and boom commands to suck it up. But that is not the same God who helped this nation of Judah. That is an imaginary god; one imagined by human fears and frustrations.
Our God is the Ever-Present Yahweh!
He doesn't just get us off the hook, letting us run and hide. Rather He asks that we be battle ready, that we take our stand, armed and armored. For then we get the best view of the amazing victory He will bring.
And while standing there in that position we simultaneously say to our enemy, the devil, that we fear him less; that our faith in God is resolute.
Won't you trust Him in the battle today? You need not fight... only stand and see the victory of the Lord!
I so desire for the LORD's eyes to find me; for His strength to be shown in my life. But how can my heart be completely His?
The Hebrew word from which this phrase comes is shalem, which means to be made ready, peaceable, and quiet because of submission.
But the struggle for me is not one of overall desire. Rather the daily small choices that are so conditioned, so habitual... so selfish. It is a choice to give up the pride so encouraged by this world. To let go of my grasp for control... my striving and struggling to be seen, to be known by man.
It is the bowing,
not only of head in prayer,
but of heart, of strength, of desire.
Help me LORD!
I long for Your strength.
Change me, fill me, release me from
the flesh which cries out for significance.
See me LORD as your eyes search to and fro.
I cannot make my heart pure... completely Yours.
I need You for even this.
Be my Strength of Heart!
Some days I awaken feeling empty and lost.
What's the use?
When will I find success?
For all that I endeavor to do seems to fall flat. I wrestle and wrangle, I struggle and strive. But no matter which way I turn, it often seems futile.
Maybe I'm on the wrong path.
Maybe I'm pointed in the wrong direction.
How can all my effort leave me so empty...
so lost and all alone?
I wonder if this is how King Asa felt between battles. Victories of the past somehow fade from memory when new foes appear around every corner; each one bigger than the last.
His troops numbered 580,OOO. Yet the enemy approaching mounted over 1,000,000. It must have seemed overwhelming. Did Asa ever feel they just weren't enough? That maybe he was lacking as king and that's why he found no peace for his people?
Amazingly, no matter his thoughts... be they of doubt or insecurity, he knew the God in heaven above saw things from a different view. For He is a God who is greater than any foe we face. And He loves to show His power... defending the weak and outnumbered.
Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God: “Lord, there is no one besides You to help the mighty and those without strength. Help us, Lord our God, for we depend on You, and in Your name we have come against this large army. Yahweh, You are our God. Do not let a mere mortal hinder You.”
2 Chronicles 14:11
Asa could have easily given in to fear. He could have listened to the whisper of worry that told him defeat was certain. But look at the result of his prayer.
God not only defended the people of Judah with a crushing victory over their enemy, but He also exceeded their expectations. God allowed the plunder of the enemy to be carried off as new supply... providing them with abundance.
Could it be that the very thing we lack is on the other side of a battle? For even when we feel our weakest... even when it all seems futile... that's exactly when God has our provision prepared.
So let us not cower or stand in defeat.
Let us not become overwhelmed by lack.
If only we will cry out to the Lord... one more time. The very provision we need may just be on the other side of this battle.
Will I trust Him?
Will I persevere?
Help me, Lord to believe in Your supply.
I humbly bow and cry out...
Lord, there is no one beside You
to help the mighty and those without strength.
Help us, Lord our God,
for we depend on You,
and in Your name we have come
against all that looms before us.
Yahweh, You are our God.
No mere mortal can hinder You.
Provide for us...
be our Supplier in the battle.
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