August 03, 2022
Fear is a relentless debilitator. It can strip you down or stop you in your tracks. Fear has kept millions of people from taking the courageous step that would have defeated their enemies … steps that would have helped them and glorified God.
To “encourage” someone is to say or do those things that bring a person back to courage. To place courage in them. It combats fear and strengthens the heart and hands of those who face obstacles or challenges that seem insurmountable.
A KING’S ENCOURAGEMENT
A great army surrounded Hezekiah and his people. It looked like there was no escape. The people were devastated by the presence of this adversary, even before he made a move. He had won the battle without lifting his sword.
But Hezekiah knew that his people needed encouragement. They didn’t need just any word, but a word from God and a word about God and His superiority over the enemy.
“Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. (2 Chronicles 32:7-8)
Our words to others need not be elaborate to be effective. The King said three things:
This simple word from God through His leader placed courage in the minds of the people. Instead of fear, they were filled with faith as they relied on this truth.
Never underestimate the power of a word of encouragement to others. It doesn’t need to be fancy or profound. It may be sending a scripture to someone in fear. Or a look in the eye and a reminder that God is on the throne … and that He is big. Bigger than any adversary.
THE ENEMIES TAUNTS
The enemy against them didn’t quit, of course, and returned with lies and taunts to try to intimidate them further. But here’s where the story gets interesting and insightful.
But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out to heaven. And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned in shame to his own land. And when he had entered the temple of his god, some of his own children killed him there with the sword. So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others and guided them on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:20-22)
The King and the prophet did the one thing the enemy could not match. They prayed. And their prayers brought the Lord God of hosts into the equation. The One who is bigger than any puny enemy. The One who is not intimidated by silly threats from a humanistic, godless leader.
The Lord sent one angel (that’s all it took) who destroyed the entire army and sent Hezekiah’s enemy home with his tail between his legs.
I guess this thing of trusting God works.
Are you facing some enemies today? Are you gripped with fear that there is no way of escape? That you will be defeated? If you are a follower of Christ, be encouraged! If you pray and believe, God will save and guide you on every side! Stand and see the salvation of your God. And along the way, encourage those around you to trust Him too.
Father, there are none greater than You. Help us to realize this and not be afraid. Give us courage today as we face our enemies. And help us be a Hezekiah whose words from You will put courage in those around us today!
August 11, 2022
Americans are world-class eaters. Some estimates are that the annual expenditure in the United States for all food is $1.1 trillion. We love to eat and go to extraordinary means to consume what we want. Eating provides the nutrition to live, but it’s also a means of satisfaction on a daily basis.
What we don’t realize is that there is a food group we’re missing that is the source of not only the greatest nutritional value but the highest joy. It’s estimated that less than 10% of Americans eat this food daily, even though it’s readily available.
August 10, 2022
We know whether something is valuable or worthless by comparison. A shiny, new car may look fabulous, but it is worthless if it has no engine. The ugliest car with a working machine is far more valuable for the need.
Everyone follows a god. You can pursue the gods of this world (power, pleasure, possessions) or the Lord God Jehovah. But it’s essential to do a proper evaluation.
August 08, 2022
Last Christmas, our kids gave us a gift called “Storyworth.” Every Monday, Holly and I receive a question about our lives. Apparently, these are collected in a book at the end of the year.
Today’s question was, “What’s your best relational advice?” As I looked at this question for a long time, I knew it was a call to do some needed work on my closest relationships. Multiple thoughts ran through my mind. They were convicting because I have fallen so far short of these truths. But they are true nonetheless.