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Friday, January 2, 2009

REST YOURSELF!

" The people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah, King of Judah."
(2 Chronicles 32)


The king of Assyria, which represents everything of this world that is against God's purposes, had gathered a massive army against Jerusalem, the city of God and His people. Their massive armies were taunting the defenders of Jerusalem and her citizens and Hezekiah, the king.


The messengers from Assyria (Satan) were reminding the citizens of Jerusalem that they had defeated all of the armies of the area. Who did Judah think they were that they or their God were any different than the others that had fallen victim to their powerful forces. From a human perspective, it was truly hopeless. In the natural, Jerusalem was doomed, as were the other kingdoms.



But one man, Hezekiah, strengthened himself in the LORD! He said in the midst of the citizens of Jerusalem, "Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him; for there be more with us than with him. With him is the arm of the flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles."



The taunting continued. The Assyrian king sent ambassadors again to Hezekiah and the people of Judah standing on the walls and again said that they would fall by the sword and be defeated. Hezekiah gathered Isaiah and they cried out to the LORD. The LORD sent one angel! This angel cut off all of the mighty men of the Assyrian army, the king of Assyria went back to his land, and was put to death in the temple of his false god. Great deliverance for Hezekiah, Isaiah, and the citizens of Jerusalem and Judah.



We are told that the events in the Old Testament are given for our instruction and and encouragement today. The ways of God never change; there are great blessings and growth for obedience, and also great blessings and growth when things seem to be going the opposite of what we think should be occurring. God has His angels, messengers, just as the evil king of Assyria send his to discourage. But we have great comfort in knowing the promises of God toward those who love Him. One angel destroys a great army of the enemy.



Another fantastic example that should bring great encouragement for this new year is given in 2 Kings 6- This time, the Syrians had gathered together with a great host of horses, chariots and warriors to capture the prophet Elisha. The servant of this man of God was struck with anguish and great fear. Elisha calmly prayed for God to open this man's eyes to the spiritual aspect of what was about to happen. He told his servant to not fear; those that are for us are more than those that are for them."


Elisha prayed, " LORD, I pray Thee, open my servants eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man and he saw; BEHOLD, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha."


May the LORD see fit to open my eyes to see the great deliverance he has for those who love and live for Him! Our battles are in the heavenlies; manifested in our physical surroundings. We need to be of a heavenly mindset and be confident that our deliverance comes from the heavens as we pray and seek God daily. In the days of the Temple, the Priests had to clean the firepans daily. The fire that burned continually had to be maintained, watched carefully and was never to be extinguished. Going to a church service once or twice a week is not daily maintenance; it is our duty to clean our firepan on a daily basis through communion with God. As the Apostle admonished, pray without ceasing.



In the past I have depended on my own strength to carry me through the day; days of ease some of the time, and mostly days of conflict, doubt, struggle or seeming hopelessness in accomplishing what I thought was important for me. I was of the opinion that I could do things on my own; that God expected me to do this and if I hit a really tough spot, then call on Him for assistance or deliverance. After years of doing such, I realize my mistake and repent of the time wasted, the years wasted in relying on my own strength and power, or the strength or power of friends and family to get to where I wanted to go.



In Jeremiah 17:5-7 it says, " Thus saith the LORD: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his strength and whose heart is departed from the LORD. For he shall be like a juniper tree (naked, barren, a heath) in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited." BUT " Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is."


Those whose hope is in the LORD, and not in themselves or others, will be as trees beside the waters. Their roots will spread forth and when the heat comes (and it will!) their leaf will remain green and in the drought they will still yield their fruit.



To give a New Testament aspect of these Old Testament promises (which are the same, there is not difference in the Word) in 1 John 5:5 it says, " For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" We are more than overcomers through Christ!



God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. (1 John 5:11) This does not say that God will give us eternal life, it says that God HAS GIVEN US ETERNAL LIFE, in His Son. Jesus prayed that we may be one, as He is in the Father that we may be in Him. What more could we ask?



We are surrounded with a great cloud of witnesses. We can be confident, as were Elisha and Hezekiah, that our God is very involved in the daily affairs of our life here on planet earth. He knows every need, He hears every prayer, He loves us because we are becoming sons and daughters of the living God. We do not yet know what we shall be, but we know that on that great day we will receive a glorious body, even as His glorified body, and that we will be with Him through all of the endless ages of eternity. We even now, have eternity in our hearts!

The citizens of Jerusalem and Judah rested upon the words of King Hezekiah; we can rest upon the words of the living God!


Fear not, for He is with us!
Be not dismayed, for HE IS OUR GOD!

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