Saturday, July 22, 2017

On Whom Do You Rely?


Scripture
Is. 36:4   The Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? 5 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 

Observation

The Rabshakeh was an assistant to the King of Assyria, more than likely his cupbearer. He appeared before King Hezekiah with great pride and viewed Hezekiah’s defiance as arrogance. The Rabshakeh viewed himself, and his nation, quite highly and found Hezekiah’s confidence in Yahweh odd. The leaders of the nations often made political alliances so that they could survive, paying tribute to one king or another. Suddenly the people of Judah were without any protector, but God alone. 

Taunting Hezekiah, the Rabshakeh couldn’t imagine a dependence upon a god who was not visible. Somehow Hezekiah seemed very confident, but to the Assyrians it seemed absolutely foolish. Words which had been spoken in prayer were mocked. How could praying out to Yahweh be a strategy against one of the mightiest armies of the world? Hezekiah’s dependence upon God was seen as rebellion against the Assyrians. This was very dangerous territory, to stand up against the rulers of the world, but Hezekiah had determined to follow God. The jeering continued for the Rabshekah could see no one on whom Hezekiah was relying, but Hezekiah refused to budge. 

After spending time in prayer and calling upon God, Hezekiah heard from the prophet Isaiah. God had heard his cries and the one on whom he was relying would supply the needs of the people of Judah. Without ever raising a sword the entire Assyrian army, nearly 185,000 of them, mysteriously died leaving Jerusalem unscathed. The God on whom Hezekiah relied was far more powerful than the mightiest of human armies. It was worth the rebellion to rely only upon God.

Application

The world taunts us into dependence upon any and everything, but God. The challenge for the followers of Jesus Christ is radical dependence in the midst of so many distractions. We are tempted to depend upon other people, jobs, finances, relationships, business transactions and the advice of specialists. How do we look all of these in the face and say, “no thanks!” 

Our prayers and dependence upon the Lord are seen as “mere words” and the world laughs as we consider them as a “strategy and power for war.” Prayer truly is a strategy for living in the world and for spiritual warfare. God is already at work in this world and we are invited to participate in the stream of the Holy Spirit. Can’t you imagine that the wisdom of God is far greater than anything that we can find from any consultant here on this earth? Of course, that is the case! And yet, we are constantly seeking the advice and direction of others. Meanwhile, God is waiting patiently for us to reveal our dependence upon the Lord. 

It was when Hezekiah rejected the ways of the world and declared his reliance upon God that God responded. No one would have imagined that the entire Assyrian army would die! God wants us to participate in plans far beyond our own comprehension. It is then that God will be glorified and our confidence will grow. Words of prayer are a great strategy for power, therefore I choose to rely on God. 

Prayer

Lord, may my dependence upon you grow daily and may the temptations surrounding me hold no sway. Amen.


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