Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Today’s Topic: Make It Personal
Today’s Text: Isaiah 37:4 “It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the LORD your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.”
In the past 10 days I have had conversations with three different people who don’t believe in God. All three are willing to admit that there may be a God, but that His identity and involvement in the course of human events are both questionable. All three people initiated contact with me. All three are in distress in their lives. All three didn’t know where else to turn.
This was the plight of King Hezekiah. The King of Assyria had laid siege to the land of Judah, and was terrorizing them with physical and verbal attacks. Hezekiah knew of God, but did not trust in Him nor serve Him. Neither did the people he ruled. But now, in this time of distress and disgrace, he turned to the only place that still offered a glimmer of hope – the prophet of God named Isaiah.
There are two things that are blatantly obvious to me in this story that are still true of people’s life stories today:
- They are under attack, causing stress, leading to distress and even disgrace; and
- They don’t have a personal relationship with the God who can save them.
Notice King Hezekiah’s message to the prophet Isaiah – twice he refers to God, but not personally. He refers to Him as the Lord your God. He knew that Jehovah was Isaiah’s God, but he couldn’t say that was true for himself. Yet when all hope was gone, and Hezekiah came to the realization that there was nothing he could do to solve the problem, he sought God.
People today are in the same situation. Every week at the church office we receive at least one call from someone in distress. They have a financial crisis, or a marriage crisis. They are hurting and want someone to reach out to them and resolve the problem. If only they would understand that Jesus Christ will give them hope even when all the circumstances of life are hopeless. If only they would come to a place of surrender and give their hearts and minds to Jesus. Then they could know that the Lord God is their God, and that He never fails and never forsakes those who love Him and serve Him.
There is one more interesting point in this story. When Hezekiah was at the end of his rope, and needed to contact God, he knew where to go. He knew that there was a man who had a relationship with God and whose life was different because of it. He knew that he could go to Isaiah and get a message to God.
Oh how I pray that is always true of me…and you. Even though the people of the world usually just want someone to extend a helping hand or relieve their pain, they know that the people of God are the ones with the compassionate hearts. Or at least they should be. Are we? Are we truly people’s connecting point to God?
Here are some questions to ponder:
- Are we the people who stand out in the world because in the midst of life’s worst problems our faith in God controls our emotional reactions?
- Are we the people who maintain an attitude of hope in the righteousness of God when all the rest of the world is fighting for their rights?
- Are we the people who model to the world the peace of God when all around us people are living in fear?
- When someone finally hits rock bottom, and has nowhere to turn, will they think of us as the place where they can connect to God?
- Does our attitude and reaction to crisis show that the Lord is truly our God?
I see God’s people handling the financial and political crisis of our day in two ways. One makes them look and act a lot like those with no hope. Others have their hearts set on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, and their affections and hope are on Him. Those are the true faithful followers of Jesus. Those are the people we can turn to for help and hope. Be one of those people.