Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Under Siege

Today is the second day in our 36th week, reading the Bible through in a year.  Our scriptures* today are:  2 Kings 18-19; 2 Chronicles 32; 1 Corinthians 9; Psalm 67.

Today's OT passages are about Hezekiah, the king of Judah, and his response to the siege placed against him by the king of Assyria.  The Assyrian King Sennacherib sent a messenger to Jerusalem, boasting that he would take the holy city, just the same as he had taken so many other kingdoms.  The gods of those people had not rescued them, he said, and neither would the God of Abraham rescue Hezekiah's people.  While the people of Judah shook in fear, Hezekiah knew just what to do.

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel,enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.  Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.  Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed.  So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone (2 Kings 19:14-19).”

God was glad when He saw Hezekiah turning to the Lord for help.  Rather than trusting in his own might, the king of Judah trusted in God for deliverance.  Verses 35-37 say:

And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh.  And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

Most people who don't attend church say that they're just too busy.  Imagine how busy King Hezekiah must have been when his city fell under attack!  Yet he still had time to go into the Lord's house, fall on his knees, and pray.  If he hadn't done this, how might the outcome been different?  Yet, because he took the time to acknowledge God's power, and to turn to Him for deliverance, the nation was saved.

I wonder--what is besieging your life today?  Is it a health problem that holds you in a grip of fear?  Are financial troubles overwhelming you?  Does an addiction threaten your body and soul?  Turn to God.  Like Hezekiah, you need to run as fast as you can to church, fall on your knees, and pray that God will deliver you.  If it's been a long time since you were in church, that's no reason to stay away.  That's all the more reason to hurry.  God wants to rescue you.

I hope that you'll get back to church this Sunday.  September 15 is "Back to Church Sunday."  Please take a look at this video promo to learn some stats about church attendance, absenteeism, and what brings people back.

*Scriptures taken from the ESV. 

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