1 Timothy 3; Isaiah 36-37; Psalm 119:97-120
Times were tense in Judah. Assyria had conquered Israel and just about everyone else in its quest for world conquest. Many cities of Judah had been captured and now the army was at the gates of Jerusalem. The Assyrian army preferred to win by negotiation and so leaders from Jerusalem and the Assyrians met outside the gates. As the Assyrians boasted of their conquests to date their leader made a bold claim. “Have I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it.’” (Isaiah 36:10) Of course, the Assyrian leader had already shown his ignorance of Hezekiah’s relationship with God when he mocked Hezekiah for destroying all the high places of the false gods. He didn’t know who the Lord really was. By using God’s name as he did, he blasphemed God. God pointed out that blasphemy in His response to Hezekiah when He told him not to be afraid. The Assyrian army did not prevail. God spared the people of Judah for a little time longer. How often do we hear people speak of God leading them or directing them in ways that we know are not according to God’s ways. Their pronouncements of “God’s plan” that exalts themselves and attacks people like us make no sense. Yet, they seem to have the might and power to back it up. When they speak in the name of God without the Spirit of God directing them, they are blaspheming. Have no fear. God sees and remembers. When the blasphemers speak, don’t worry. Do as Hezekiah did: keep following God and seeking Him.
Oh Lord, so many speak in Your name who have no knowledge of You. They exalt themselves. They mock Your people. At times it’s frightening. At times it’s maddening. At times it’s discouraging. Help me remember to keep my heart and mind focused on You. Let my life reflect Your love and grace at all times.