Have you ever felt besieged on all sides? If so, I have good news for you. You have a God who is able and willing to handle any circumstance.
Hezekiah, who had tried to turn Judah back to the Lord, found himself in a position of profound distress. The Assyrian army had already besieged the nations around him, and they surrounded this small country as well. The mocking spirits started bullying Hezekiah – and even spoke directly to the people telling them not to trust in God. “He will not help you,” was the arrogant cry of the invaders.
In the natural, there was no hope. The Assyrian army was strong and mean, and very capable of doing what they threatened.
But with God, there is always hope. In fact, there is nothing too difficult for our God.
Hezekiah turned to prayer and fasting. He also consulted with Isaiah, the prophet.
The Word of the Lord was a good one – and a strong one. When Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, came against Israel, he also came against God Himself. The Lord promised that “Sennacherib shall not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there; neither shall he come before it with a shield, nor throw up a mound against it. By the way that he came, he shall return, and not come back again.” (37:33-34)
That’s exactly what happened – with a little help from God’s angel. 185,000 troops died during the night, and when the Assyrian army arose the next morning, that’s what they found! Needless to say, the king’s plans changed, and he turned and went home, just as the prophecy declared.
The God who protected Hezekiah is with you today. If you are surrounded, His protection is available to you also.
Now we are not talking about God killing those mean people around you. We don’t war against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces around us. Demons, principalities, etc.
We can count on the power of God working on our behalf, if we are His and doing things His way.
Our biggest job is to saturate ourselves in His Word to the place where we believe Him to the fullest measure. God is faithful. His Word is true.
He can accomplish all things for you also.
As Paul continues his letters from prison, (talk about making lemonade out of lemons. Paul could have sat around feeling sorry for himself; instead he conducted his greatest ministry – the epistles we hold so dear), he covers a variety of subjects. He explains the mystery revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, and he gives lots of practical advice relating to the walk of a true Christian.
At the end of each letter, he starts with various points specifically for that church, but ones which we can take to heart also.
My favorite verse in this chapter is the one in which he says to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
That charge is one which we all need to heed. We are not all in full-time ministry, but all of us are called to do something – and to further the gospel in our corner of the world.
One of the darkest things which came out of the dark ages was the concept that the priests knew everything and their “subjects” were to just sit and listen. No and a thousand times, “No!”
The vestiges which still remain from that evil concept cause people to think that if they go to church on Sunday morning and sit and listen, they have “done their duty.” There is so much more to our walk than that.
Our Father God has called us to a life lived for Him – and that includes all of us. We all have gifts and talents put there by God, and lives lived for Him will use those for his purposes.
Do you have the gift of giving? Of exhorting? Of teaching? Of administrations? All of these are from God and when all are implementing the gifts He gave, our homes and churches run like well-oiled machines. When we don’t, the “preachers” are carrying loads they are not gifted for, and things don’t go so well.
Beyond these gifts, we all have the call of evangelism to those around us. Our family, our neighbors, and our co-workers need the gifts you have within you. They need your exhortation or teaching. They need your love and caring. They need for you to be an example of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And besides those around us being enriched, we benefit as well when we give our gifts. We all will have happier and more fulfilling lives when we “take heed – and fulfill our ministry.”