Spiritual Warfare is real.
As real as the battles that King Hezekiah was about to face. And just like Hezekiah we too have weapons we can use to fight them.
How amazing this faith
Hezekiah showed in the Lord. He and his people were harassed and taunted by a big bully king who couldn't wrap his head... or heart around the concept of God. Sennacherib, the King of Assyria sent letters and messengers time after time to tell the people of Judah that he was coming to destroy them and they had better not depend on God, nor listen to any encouragement from King Hezekiah who wanted to fill their heads with a bunch of silly faith.
So Hezekiah took it to God
Literally! Hezekiah took one of the blasphemous letters of the Assyrian king to the temple, laid it before the Lord and prayed over it. And that is what we are supposed to do as well!
Whatever the taunt, whatever the harassment, whatever the difficulty that we are facing, God wants us to bring it before Him. Nothing is too big, too scary, too bad that our God cannot fight it for us... no matter how scared we are of it.
And God came through
in a mighty way! Look what God did before Hezekiah even woke up the next morning. That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. 2 Kings 19:35-36 NIV
Never will there be
a better time to pray than now. God can be one step ahead our enemies if we will only bring to Him our troubles as Hezekiah did. What are you facing that could be brought before the Lord in prayer?
There are a lot of great people in the Bible.
But to be honest, there are times I really want to know more about them. I mean, I want some behind the scenes sort of info. Like what happened during the in-between times that pointed someone this way, or that. What caused a shift in perspective; what made them choose to follow God... or not.
Hezekiah is one such example. You see, the Bible tells us that, He was successful in whatever he undertook. And while that's and amazing statment, and I'd love that to be said of my life. What's more impressive is understanding who his father was.
Because there are losers in the Bible as well.
And Hezekiah's father, Ahaz was one of them. This is not my opinion... but God's
Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.
2 Kings 16:2-4
Maybe simply knowing his brother was sacrificed to an idol caused Hezekiah to desire to be different from his father. Or the fact that Ahaz closed the Temple of God and filled the entire city of Jerusalem and all the surrounding areas with altars and idols forcing the people to worship foreign gods.
Could not having the choice of God cause you to want Him more? Or was there someone in the palace who secretly worshped Yahweh? What about his mother, a priest, a servant... was there anyone from whom he could have learned?
Can God, Himself be the only influence?
Or is it possible that one hungry enough for God could simply cry out from the emptiness inside and He would speak to them? These are the wonderings and wanderings we will never know. The in-betweens that cause my heart curiosity as I read of those who chase after God. And they encourage me to chase even harder still.
Yahweh has strengthened me
This is the meaning of Hezekiah's name.
For he trusted the Lord.
He held fast to the Lord.
He kept the Lord's commands.
And the Lord was with Him...
then Hezekiah was successful
in all he undertook.
Notice the order of events, as it is so important. For we cannot seek success in what we do before we seek the presence of God. I'm beginnig to believe that Hezekiah wasn't looking so much to be a great king, as he was simply yearing for God who had been banished by his father. There had been a void, a darkness, an empty place that only God could fill.
All too often...
I sense this in our world today.
Darkness trying to dampen the light.
Tolerance of all things
drowning out the truth.
And we begin to conform,
to stumble into it.
But let us stand firm.
Let us trust in the Lord
Hold fast to His truth
Obey His commands.
Let us remain in His presence...
these are the keys to success.
The compassion of our God is not dependent upon our behavior.
Compassion is defined as a deep sympathy, a sorrow for one stricken by misfortune accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
No where in the definition do we find cause and effect. The one suffering could actually be wandering in self-inflicted pain, yet they still can be the object of compassion. This was the case of Israel under the reign of yet another king who walked in evil ways.
But like the definition, our God sees past a wrong leader to the hearts of those led astray; those who suffer from the higher evil over them. And He saw that they had no one to rescue them. There was no wise guide or prophet available for Him to call.
So even in the midst of an evil king's life, God can work good for His people. For He made a covenant... a promise not to blot out the name of Israel. And our God is the most faithful at keeping His promises.
How grateful I am, that no matter our circumstance... no matter our leadership, we can rely on the deliverance of Our Compassionate Keeper.
This was the Shunemite woman. The very same woman who made room in her life for the prophet Elisha. She and her husband served the Lord by acting on the desire to provide a room for him to stay at their house as he traveled.
And in return, Elisha desired to fill an empty place in her life and he prophesied that she would hold a son in her arms. A son who died and was restored to life through faith.
So when Elisha warned this woman of an impending famine, she and her family moved away. And here we encounter her return after seven years.
But she found it all gone; her property, her home and her income potential. But amazingly, the moment she walks into the king's court to plea her case, Elisha's servant is in the middle of telling the king how her son was raised to life.
Let us ever be grateful for the God of perfect timing. Tender is this king's heart for her before he ever meets her because God has prepared a way. And to her, not only is all her land and property restored... given back as it was before, but she is repaid all the income she would have made off her land, as if she never left.
This king is the earthly expression of Our Gracious and Faithful Restorer. For it is God who owns it all. And Heciscable to bring us back...
after our days of lack,
after our days of wandering,
after our loss and emptiness.
How grateful I am for His amazing desire to restore us, even before we step into His presence to ask.
Ask the Lord for rain
in the season of spring rain.
The Lord makes the rain clouds,
and He will give them showers of rain
and crops in the field for everyone.
Maybe you never asked for rain,
but God sees your drought of joy.
Maybe your circumstances seem cloudy,
but God holds a storehouse of blessing.
Maybe you've never planted a thing
but God has a harvest of good for your life.
Trust in the Lord to restore you.
Allow Him to bring you back
to the original purpose you were created.
So you may live in the abundance.
of His gracious and faithful love.
Elisha was a prophet of vision. He didn't just hear from God, he saw visions of the future. One might consider this a marvelous gift. But it came with great responsibility, as well as considerable opposition.
The king of Aram was determined to have Elisha killed for revealing his whereabouts and strategies in battle. So he had the city where Elisha and his servant were staying surrounded. And when morning came, Elisha's servant began to fear.
But Elisha prayed for him to see; to be given spiritual vision. And the Lord opened his eyes to see horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha... a protective host which was there all the time. What an amazing sight that must have been. Many more on God's side than the Aramean army could handle.
This is the realm of spiritual warfare of which we are to believe. This is the battle between good and evil. When we cry out to God for help, this same heavenly host appears. If only we could see them; if only the Lord would open our eyes to this spectacular vision.
Would it cause us to be fearful? Or simply more faithful to trust in His mighty hand of protection.
Lord, God... Commander of Heaven's Army, flood the eyes of our heart with wisdom and knowledge that we might perceive the greater spiritual realm, trusting You ever more. Grant us True Vision of this Kingdom in which we live.
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