John 20:19-31; 2 Chronicles 32; Psalm 88
Hezekiah led a revival of the kingdom of Judah when he was king. The revival was religious and political in nature. He rid the kingdom of the places used to worship idols and the kingdom itself grew stronger. In the midst of this time, Assyria became the dominant force in the Middle East and they took aim at Judah. As Sennacherib launched his excursion fear began to rise up among the people. It was Hezekiah who reminded people of God’s presence. “’Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8) Yes, Hezekiah made military preparations, strengthening his defenses. Yes, he arranged to have his army ready to face the might of Assyria. With all that, he realized that the strength, the power that would overcome Assyria was from God. Assyria taunted Judah, noting that the places of the idols had been torn down – not realizing that this commitment to the one true God would give strength. God sent His attack while Assyria laid siege on Judah, before they began military action. The king of Assyria and his army returned home in shame and he was deposed in a coup. What’s the message for us. We should be prepared for trouble with anything and everything we can humanly do that isn’t contrary to God’s plan. When we are faced with trouble though, we shouldn’t turn to God as a last resort. Our focus on God should be the first order of business. He may lead us to make use of our preparations. He may tell us to ignore our preparations. The key is that we maintain our focus on God and stay obedient to His directions. No matter how great the trouble may be and no matter how great the temptation may be to do things our own way, God alone has the power to deal with the problems that lay before us. If we trust Him, we will emerge victorious. Our attitude should be that of Job who said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
Lord, remind me that the terms of victory always include being faithful to You. When we follow You; when we are true to You we will always be victorious whether we live or die. Keep me safe in Your will.