Friday, March 09, 2018

The Only True God

Today's Reading:
2 Kings 18:13-19:37
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
Psalm 104:19-30
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Focus Verses: 2 Kings 19:16-19
16 "Give ear, LORD, and hear; open your eyes, LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. 17 It is true, LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19 Now, LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, LORD, are God.”

When the Assyrian commander came to threaten Jerusalem, he was bold and intimidating. He wanted them to surrender without a fight. He hurled out threats in Aramaic to be sure all the bystanders would be able to understand his graphic description of the horrors they would face if they resisted. He told them that no other god of any other city had been able to stop Sennacherib's takeover. He even claimed that the god of the Israelites had told the Assyrians to attack Jerusalem. He told them that King Hezekiah had been deceiving his own people.

In the face of this powerful enemy, and with his own people terrified and demoralized, Hezekiah quickly turned to the prophet Isaiah for counsel. He poured out his heart to God and pleaded for God to intervene. As he made his appeal for deliverance, he asked God to show himself to be the true God—the God who was faithful and able to save his people, the God who was not like the false gods of the surrounding nations, the God who was worthy of glory and praise.

In the end, God delivered Jerusalem. The words of the prophet Isaiah all came to pass. Incidentally, there is good extra-biblical witness for Sennacherib's withdrawal from Jerusalem and his subsequent death.

Response and Action:
When I face bold threats and dangers, I will lean into the Lord. When my faith is insulted and my God is slandered, I will cry out and ask God to show his power and faithfulness. I will pray for more than my own deliverance; I will pray that God's character and actuality are clearly made known.

O God, give me a faith that is stronger than the threats I encounter. Help me to know you so well that I am not shaken or frightened by those who deny or misrepresent you. Give me the wisdom to trust you in every situation. Help me to humble myself in the confidence that you are faithful and will lift me up in due time. Through Christ, I pray. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: 1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Know Doubt
by John Ortberg

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