Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 Trust in the Providence of God

2 Chronicles 32: 9-23
Vs.22: So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them on every side.

The Bible portion for meditation today is written at a time when Hezekiah was reigning in Judah’s southern kingdom. The name “Hezekiah” means “God has strengthened”. Hezekiah was the 13th successor of King David. Hezekiah’s godliness was in direct contrast to his father’s (Ahaz) wickedness. King Hezekiah faithfully walked with God (2 Chronicles 31:20), and “there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him” (2 Kings 18:5). Hezekiah restored Temple worship and reformed Judah, and thus revival came to God’s people. During his reign, the ruthless Assyrian empire conquered many nations. With foresight, Hezekiah decided to fortify Jerusalem against siege. He fortified the city walls, expanded his military, and built a 1,750-foot-long tunnel to provide a secret water supply (2 Chron. 32:2-8). 

This portion begins with a threatening message by the King of Assyria - Sennacherib - to the people of Judah to take a stand either with King Hezekiah of Judah” or “King Sennacherib of Assyria.” King Sennacherib causes warfare in different ways. He instills fear (v.10), arouses psychological insecurity, intimidates, arouses discontent, and falsely accuses King Hezekiah of endangering the lives of subjects. He even uses his servants to speak against Hezekiah, writes messages, and speaks loudly against Hezekiah and Yahweh (v.9-16). The intention is to make his opponents feel helpless. We know the ultimate end of such people who rebuke God as mentioned in Psalm 2 “those who take their stand against God are rebuked”

But here the real either or is between Yahweh or Assyria-To be for or against the Lord. The core of Israel's faith was under attack - Our faith, our identity, our beliefs everything may come under attack, there we may have to take an either-or step- Joshua 24 is another example of an either-or question. Israel can choose the God and King of Assyria that give slavery, false security, and momentary pleasure or it can choose a covenant life in sync with the creator God. This is an invitation to use our freedom to choose either the God of justice, generosity, and kindness, or the power, greed, and indifference of Assyria and their gods.

In the face of these threats, Hezekiah grieved, but he knew where to turn. In the midst of these problems Hezekiah trusted Almighty God and cried to Heaven (v. 20). The Lord overturned His words spoken to Hezekiah by Isaiah because of Hezekiah's fervent prayers and heartfelt tears. We read in Isaiah 55: 8, 9  “Trust Him. He will show a miraculous way for us”. Heaven sent relief to destroy the enemy which is similar to Jesus - as a human without sin, taunted on the cross, resurrected on the third day, victory from sin, and eternal death. We also read in 1 Corinthians 1: 31, “Boast in the Lord & Trust in the God of our Forefathers and Foremothers who is alive and with us today inviting us to trust in God”. Verses 22 and 23 assure “rest” on all sides from God & offerings to Yahweh, a validity of God’s promise. Faith in God in difficulties avoided exile.

The prayer of trust transforms defeat into deliverance. The Chinese word for crisis is Weiji – Wei means danger and ji means opportunity- Crisis is another opportunity. Here a crisis and threat become opportunities to experience the blessings and glory of God. This portion reminds us of three thoughts:
  1. God who provides time and resources to restore the city
  2. God who provides courage and patience when evil threatens us
  3. God who provides victory from enemy
If we look back at our lives, how beautifully the gracious Lord has guided us - the unworthy and weak. We all face different sorts of challenges and obstacles in our lives. However, do we really stay strong in our trust in the Lord? Doesn’t our faith get wavered? It’s true because our foundation is not strong and each day God is giving us an opportunity to renew ourselves. Gladys Staines has said, “God gives us the strength to be able to carry our cross and live in His will. Our life and work here on Earth has to go on according to His Holy will”. Let us surrender ourselves to God.
Dear Lord, our provider, and protector! Protect us from various temptations that can mislead us into seeking our needs elsewhere rather than from you. May our faith, trust, hope & providence be only from You because you are the creator of Heaven & Earth. Your providence reveals your infinite wisdom, justice, goodness, mercy & power. To you be all Glory & Praise, Amen!
Thought for the Day  
God desires to show His power through your storm, but is your lack of faith keeping Him from doing so? God brings storms into your life to show His strength and to gain glory from His providence - Paul Chappel

Dr. Neetu Toms 
w/o Rev. Toms Ninan
Mar Thoma Schools, Indore, Madhya Pradesh

 Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church

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