Thursday, February 17, 2011
Today’s Topic: Wedding Invitations
Today’s Text: Isaiah 36:13-15 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you! Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’
Yesterday I received a wedding invitation in the mail. It was from a relative – the son of one of my cousins. He has found the woman of his dreams. I am so happy for them. The invitation was very unique. It wasn’t the traditional formal two-envelop with RSVP card and return envelop folded inside. It was more like a postcard, and it was covered of pictures of the couple in various life experiences, including one of them kissing. On it was all the necessary information about the wedding. It was a new method of inviting people to a wedding, and I liked it.
Invitations come in all shapes and sizes for all kinds of events, and they are designed by the sender to do three things: first, to appeal to your emotions with the design of the invitation; second, to give you the information of the event and the blessings you will receive by attending; and third, by the design of the invitation, to reveal the personality and/or character of the sender
In the same way, our enemy, who is called Satan, or the Devil, or the Roaring Lion seeking to devour us, also sends invitations to us. They come in all shapes and sizes, and like junk emails they clog the inbox of our mind all day long. They are very attractive. They are designed to appeal to us and give us exactly the information the sender knows we need to make a spontaneous and emotional decision. But what is different about his invitations when compared to the ones we receive for a wedding is this – Satan’s do not reveal his personality or his character.
Satan is a deceiver, and will use any lie he can to convince you to come to his party. What will appear on the outside to be an opportunity to find pleasure and fulfillment is really an invitation to death and destruction. Ultimately, Satan cannot offer anything else.
One of his most devious invitations is the one that leads us to doubt the character and promises of God. Satan knows that he cannot appeal to Christians with a display of his own character, so his only hope is to diminish our view of the nature and character of God so Satan himself looks better. It’s the same tactic we use when we belittle others to make ourselves look better.
This is demonstrated in today’s portion of the story found in Isaiah 36. The commander of the Assyrian army is sending an invitation to the nation of Israel to make peace with them and join their powerful and prosperous kingdom. He does three things: he paints a word picture of the blessing they would receive by joining – Make peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. (verses 16-17)
He also warns them what will happen if they don’t attend – Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the men sitting on the wall—who, like you, will have to eat their own filth and drink their own urine?” (verse 12)
But then came the main emphasis of his invitation – he destroys the people’s hope in the Lord. He starts by saying that he is actually doing this by the command of the Lord – “Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this land without the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.” (verse 11). He proceeds to tell them that they can no longer trust the Lord – “Do not let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’ Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? (verse 18)
That’s the same invitation Satan sends us every day when he invites us to be married to the world. He appeals to the pleasures of the world. He convinces us that anything less than that is actually ugly and will hurt us. He disguises himself as the Lord so we think we are really obeying, Then he plants seeds of distrust in us so that we begin to think that God isn’t really meeting all of our needs and isn’t even capable of doing so.
Be careful in everything. We are receiving numerous invitations to be married to the world every day. They are lies. Let’s not be people who just say that we love and trust God. Let’s live like we do and really trust Him.