What has the Lord Said?
Father, Your name is above all other names. You deserve my worship and praise.
Read 2 KINGS 18:17-37
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Work as if there is no such thing as prayer; pray as if there is no such thing as work” (author unknown). It’s hard to keep these two things in balance.
Recently I was nearly taken in by what purported to be a call from my bank; alarm bells only rang when they asked for my account details. The Assyrian officials are similarly very clever in the psychological warfare they wage against Hezekiah’s people. They seek to turn them against their king through fear of siege and famine, offering instead peace and prosperity elsewhere (27,31-32). They even suggest that Hezekiah’s destruction of the high places has taken away access to their God (22)!
Was making preparations to ward off the invader wrong? God’s nation has fought battles and defended its territory in the past, and Jerusalem, on the hill, surrounded by strong walls, is defendable. Though Hezekiah has had initial military success against the Philistines, as he now weighs up how to respond to the Assyrian threat, he has the witness of the prophet. Isaiah’s advice (Isa. 31:1-3) is to rely not on Egypt or any compromise with the enemy but to rely solely on God. He even condemns the seemingly sensible action of strengthening the walls because of the houses destroyed in the process (Isa. 22:10). It is ironic that the Assyrian officials are demanding Judah’s surrender on the very spot where the previous Judean king Ahaz was challenged by Isaiah to trust in the Lord rather than in an alliance with Assyria against other invaders (2 Kings 16:5-9; Isa. 7:1-17).
Relying on God does not conflict with taking adequate precautions against evil, even fighting in self-defense, as Christians have sometimes chosen to do, but the challenges for most of us are probably more mundane–trusting God with the aging process, for example. That trust does not mean ignoring advice on health, mobility and family history–but living by faith, in any age and circumstance, calls for us to be open to hear from God and from those whom he uses as his prophets.
Who are you listening to? How can filter out the voices that attempt to crowd out God’s voice?
Lord, I want to have hearing ears that listen to and hear Your voice.
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