Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm afraid the hateful words are true.

Words. Words are the precursor to action, and sometimes they hurt with an amazing ability to crumple. Oh, I can stand tall and look you in the eye. I can feel His breath within me pushing me forward and teaching me anew. Sometimes, however, those words come back to haunt me. They encircle my brain and it’s as if they are all I know.

“I don’t have time for you”
“You aren’t my priority.”
“You are a liar.”
“You don’t care about family.”
“You aren’t good enough.”
“You can’t give what I need.”

Even when I can see the fallacy of words, even when I know the truth in the words may be universal, especially when I know my actions have backed up their words they strike hard and swift.

But there are other words which float in and out of my life as well. Words which are life affirming and encouraging. Words filled with hope, love, peace, joy. Words I have a hard time applying to me. It does not come easy to set hard words aside and hold on to what God says. It is not a natural thing, even though I will fight to the death for you to believe. I don’t feel worthy; because of the words. But this is where choice comes in. And even in the midst of drowning in the words others have said I have to hold on to and believe what my God says.

“I will redeem you.”
“I will protect you.”
“I know your pain.” 
“I delight in you.”
“I will always love you.”
“You are my priority.”

Hezekiah has been at the end of my wrath and warnings for many years, but ever since I did my Being Still series he has taught me much. This lesson has been no exception.

Will I listen to the errand boys of the evil liar, or will I listen to my God who speaks truth? Who will you give the power to?


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The fear of what others say.

2 Kings 19:6-7
Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says:
Do not be afraid of what you have heard –
those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.
Listen! I am going to put such a spirit in him that when he hears a certain report,
he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”

Have you ever heard someone say that words have power? Or the opposite, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Both statements have truth in them. I believe words have as much power as we give them.

When the messengers came and threatened Hezekiah it created a fear within him. He was grieved that God was disrespected, and he feared for his country. Would these words that blasphemed God have no consequences? Would the threats they made against Israel come true? Hezekiah knew of only one way to find out if his fears would be realized, and that was to go to God. Isaiah let Hezekiah know God’s words were more powerful than any others.

Isaiah’s response was such a lesson for us. God says not to be scared of words. Instead, God reminds Hezekiah to listen to Him. How often is this exactly where we need to be? Too often we have lies in our head and heart which bring fear to us. We live our lives based on these fears which we hold dear. But God is calling out to us; Listen! His truth is always true. His truth defeats the lies. His truth is what we need to listen to and believe.

Question 1: Do you have lies you listen to on a regular basis? How does that affect the way you live? How would your choices be different if you instead believed God’s words so completely?

Question 2: What do you do with your fear? Do you first go to God and allow Him to deal with it? He wants to be our confidant and counselor. Have you given Him that opportunity?

Dear Father
My heart cries to you
Words have struck my heart
They have created fear
Help me place my trust instead
In what You say
So I may know your peace and joy


Monday, August 13, 2012

Hezekiah's Fear

Hezekiah was still in the temple prostrate before God as the messengers arrived. The looked at each other, and then at their king who was on the ground. They were amazed at his trust in God. He had not spoken to his army commanders. He had not panicked. He simply went into prayer waiting for Isaiah to respond as if Hezekiah had no doubt there would be a response. The story begins in 2 Kings 16:20 when Hezekiah becomes King and concludes in Chapter 20. We currently find ourselves in Chapter 19 and the king is awaiting their reply.




This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard – those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

Hezekiah breathed deep. God had heard the insults and blasphemy. Hezekiah was so grateful for such a response and such a reminder. Yes, those threatening him and his country were from a large country who had taken over other areas, but those areas did not serve the true God. These threatening were simply errand boys who had no power. Hezekiah smiled a little at God’s chosen words. A sense of calm came over him. Why should he be afraid of what an errand boy says? He knew where the true strength was.

Listen! I am going to put such a spirit in him that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.

Hezekiah heard the message of God. Not only was God letting him know the country would be safe from this king, God was reminding him of the difference between their words. What the errand boys said were just words. Like air going through the night, not causing any effect whatsoever. The words of God, however, were something to listen to. What God said was certain. How ironic that God would use rumors to put fear in those who had tried to place fear in Hezekiah with their own threats.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

2 Kings 19:6-7

Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, 'This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard - those words which the underlings of the King of Assuria have blasphemed me. Listen! I am going to put such a spirit in him that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and thre I will have him cut down with the sword.'" (NIV)  
Isaiah answered them, "Tell your master, 'God's word: Don't be at all concerned about what you've heard from the king of Assyria's bootlicking errand boys - these outrageous blaphemies. Here's what I am going to do: afflict him with self-doubt. He's going to hear a rumor and, frightened for his life, retreat to his own country. Once there, I'll see to it that he gets killed." (The Message)

Matthew Henry:
They are but words, and words are wind. God promised to frighten the King of Assyria worse than Rabshakeh had frightened Hezekiah.

spirit - in Hebrew ruah - breath, wind

enduringword.com commentary
Perhaps we can sense a gentle rebuke in these words from the LORD. 'Hezekiah, it is good for you to seek Me so passionately. But the words of Rabshakeh are only words. Do not be afraid of them.'

Our Daily Bread
No matter what we ultimately do our first response should be to tell God of the danger and praise Him for His greatness.