2 KINGS 18:13-19:37 | ACTS 21:1-17 | PSALM 149:1-9 | PROVERBS 18:8
Hezekiah is king, and he is a good king, and a God-fearing one at that. But there is trouble from the neighbors. Sennacherib, king of Assyria threatens Jerusalem and is ready to make war.
And so, Hezekiah makes this prayer: “LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, LORD, and hear; open your eyes, LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.
And it is here that we see the very first mention of Isaiah, the prophet, who brings these words of the Lord to Hezekiah. In response to Hezekiah’s prayer, this is what the Lord says:
30 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah
will take root below and bear fruit above.
31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant,
and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.
“The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
And in case there was any fear or doubt about how the king of Assyria would be handled, the Lord says this as well:
“‘He will not enter this city
or shoot an arrow here.
He will not come before it with shield
or build a siege ramp against it.
33 By the way that he came he will return;
he will not enter this city, declares the LORD.
34 I will defend this city and save it,
for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’”
Sure enough, the Lord’s word does come to pass: as early as the next morning Sennacherib, king of Assyria wakes up to find tens of thousands of his troops lying dead in their camps. Needless to say, he retreats immediately. And the record states that his own end is a most sad and gruesome one: he is killed by his own sons some years later.
Turning now to the book of Acts, we find a continuing account of Paul’s ministry and travels. Traveling by ship, Paul visits the many islands of Greece, Turkey, and the lower Mediterranean regions. In one of the cities called Caesarea, there is a man who comes to foretell Paul’s death, but Paul is not dissuaded, and in fact, he comforts the friends and believers with whom he is staying.
He says to them: “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
May it be that we might have the very same sentiment: to die for the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Turning next to our psalm for the day, we find a psalm extolling the great might and power of the Lord Almighty. A very common theme for the psalmist, but one that he does not tire with. Some verses that even we might wish to take comfort in are these:
4 For the LORD takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
5 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.
6 May the praise of God be in their mouths
and a double-edged sword in their hands
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs that can’t help but bring a smile, don’t you think? Surely, Solomon, the wise poet king of Israel must have also smiled while writing these words:
8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.