July 1

2 Kings 18:13–19:37

This story of the defeat of Assyria – in such an awesome and mighty way, is found three times in the Bible. Here in 2 Kings, in 2 Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 36-37. Why would God include it three times in three different books of the Bible – almost verbatim? The simple answer is, the Lord must really want us to know that even when we’re surrounded by the enemy, we can look to Him, trust Him, and He will rescue us against all odds.

It’s interesting to read the opening words of the account in 2 Chronicles. It’s there we discover that this whole ordeal began with these words, “After these deeds of faithfulness…” It was after these deeds of faithfulness that all hell broke loose. Often times that’s the case. Hard times hit, sometimes because we’re doing the best we can to serve the Lord. So the enemy fights it tooth and nail. In this case he sends the most powerful army on earth to surround Jerusalem.

King Hezekiah does what he can through diplomacy and even making himself subservient to Assyria, but no amount of money, silver, or gold would satisfy this evil empire. They had as their goal, the complete annihilation of Judah.

The words of the Rabshakeh were intended to deflate the faith of the people through lies and intimidation. We must remember that the enemy is a liar and does all that he can to wear us down through lies. He twists the truth, saying Hezekiah tore down the altars of the LORD (2 Kings 18:2), when in all reality, Hezekiah did what was right and Biblical – the people were only to offer sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Rabshakeh told the people (in words they would clearly understand) that the LORD could not deliver them, and even that the LORD sent him to destroy them. We read in:

2 Kings 18:25 (NKJV) “Have I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it.’”

The Rabshakeh didn’t want the people to trust in the LORD or even listen to the leader:

2 Kings 18:30 (NKJV) “…nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’”

It was a clear-cut challenge to the reality of the God of Israel who also happens to be the God of all mankind…and Assyria would find out the hard way because King Hezekiah earnestly sought the LORD.

2 Kings 19:1 (NKJV) “And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.”

When I read that – how he tore his clothes, covered himself with the most uncomfortable clothing you could imagine, and went into the house of the LORD, it makes me check my heart. As the church is “surrounded” today, the enemy is doing all he can to destroy our families, our flocks, and the future of our nation – – – am I seeking the Lord like this?

God went on to give Jerusalem the victory by sending one angel who wiped out 185,000 Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35). But I’ve always latched on to a verse we read from Isaiah:

2 Kings 19:20 (NKJV) “Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard….’’”

“Because you have prayed…”

We must remember that prayer is never in vain, that prayer is not in any way futile, that every time we bow before God in sincerity and seek him in Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication, He hears us and He answers us. 

Prayer moves the hand that moves the world. Prayer changes things, it even changes us. Prayer unleashes the power of Almighty God all over our enemies.

We may feel surrounded and we will be lied to, but the Lord is with us – always – the key is to earnestly seek Him – trust, pray, and obey. He will defend our city for the sake of His Son (2 Kings 18:34).

Acts 21:1-17

Paul the Apostle is on his way to Jerusalem. Every step of the way he is being warned – even by prophets – that chains and tribulations await him. In light of that, everyone is begging him not to go.

There are some who believe that Paul was not using wisdom, that he was testing God. I’m of the inclination that he, like Jesus, knew that this was his call; to suffer and one day lay down his life for the Gospel. We read a good balance there in: 

Acts 21:13-14 (NKJV) “Then Paul answered, ‘What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, ‘The will of the Lord be done.’”

We should always be ready for whatever may happen as a result of our obedience. May everyone bow down and chime in, “The will of the Lord be done.”

Sandy Adams said, “It was Paul’s love for the Jews and his desire to see them saved, that caused him to throw caution to the wind.”

This is the end of Paul’s Third Missionary Journey…he ends up in Jerusalem where the brethren received him gladly.

I have to confess, that this section of Acts was instrumental in my move to El Monte. Some told me not to go, they questioned me, repeatedly, but the above passage (Acts 21:13-14) as well Acts 20:22-24 carried me. They’re passages that actually good for all of us…as we do our best to follow the Lord.

Acts 20:22-24 (NKJV) “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Psalm 149:1-9

I wonder if we realize how powerful praise is? I wonder if we praise God the way we should? 

We sing the oldies (they never get old) but we must always be looking for new songs as well, for God is always doing new things.

I love the enthusiasm of this Psalm. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker, the children of Zion (a picture of heaven) be joyful in their King. Dance, sing praise with timbrel and harp, even the guitar!

We humble ourselves in acknowledging our constant need for God. What a “beautiful” passage:

Psalm 149:4 (NKJV) “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.”

I thought it was interesting to read the Psalmist even encouraging Israel to sing aloud on their beds! Some say it points to praising God even when it’s “nighttime” (Job 35:10; Psalm 42:8). NET Notes said this, “Perhaps the point is that they should rejoice at all times, even when falling asleep or awaking.”

The Psalm closes with sounding victory over Israel’s enemies. For us, it’s not necessarily victory over nations, but it is victory over the fallen flesh, over the world system under Satan’s sway, and the devil and his demons. Let’s be sure to swing our two-edged sword (Psalm 149:6; Hebrews 4:12).

Proverbs 18:8

Charles Bridges said this about gossip, “…no character indeed, is more despicable, no influence is more detestable.”

Why would anyone give it out? And why would anyone eat it up? You mean to tell me you have an appetite for that? It’s sick!

George Meredith defined gossip as, “social sewage.”

Gossip does so much damage, that Corrie Ten Boom said it, “kills love.”

That damage can become irreparable in a short period of time! Plautus said, “I know of nothing swifter in life than the voice of rumor, and there’s only one thing as difficult as unscrambling an egg, it’s unspreading a rumor.”

Gossip is the devil’s mailbag. Don’t listen, don’t let him deliver it to your house!

I like this counsel I read back in the day, “Never believe anything bad about anybody unless you positively know it to be true; and never tell even that, unless you feel that it is absolutely necessary.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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