ISAIAH 37:1-38:22 | GALATIANS 6:1-18 | PSALM 65:1-13 | PROVERBS 23:24
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Sennacherib’s threat to Israel has reached the ears of King Hezekiah, and Hezekiah takes this matter to the Lord. Evidently, the strength of Sennacherib’s forces are to be reckoned with, and Hezekiah knows that he, in and of himself does not have the power to stay the decimation that is sure to come upon him and the kingdom of Israel. And so, Hezekiah goes to the Lord, who sends Isaiah with these words:
31 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah
will take root below and bear fruit above.
32 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.
Which is exactly what happens: Hezekiah does not need to lift a finger to defend his people, for an angel of the Lord wipes out all the forces of Sennacherib, and Sennacherib retreats. Some years later, Sennacherib meets a most despicable death at the hands of his own two sons while he is in the temple of his god. Yet another example of how the mighty have fallen!
Also, some years later, Hezekiah is taken ill, but his faith is stronger than his body, and he cries out to the Lord yet again for help. So confident is he that God will hear his plea yet again, it is truly remarkable a lesson in perseverance and faith. Hezekiah cries out to God with these words:
In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.
18 For the grave cannot praise you,
death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit
cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise you,
as I am doing today;
parents tell their children
about your faithfulness.
He is confidenct of deliverance from the Lord. And finally, he says with the uttermost confidence:
20 The LORD will save me,
and we will sing with stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
in the temple of the LORD.
Turning now to our reading of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we find Paul continuing to encourage and exhort his readers to be the best they can be.
He says: 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions.
And he also has some very clear words of advice to all. He says, 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Also, Paul says once more what he has already said more than once: do not be concerned about observances of the Law such as practicing circumcision and such because these matters are not important. Instead, focus on the more important business of understanding the magnitude of this great gift of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross. Being circumcised is no reason to boast about one’s good works, he says.
Paul’s own words are: 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find one in which David is extolling the incredible might of the Almighty in how the earth is made to be fertile and brings forth in abundance:
9 You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs which contains a most profound verse:
24 The father of a righteous child has great joy;
a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.