Open My Eyes!

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.” “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Psalm 112:4; 119:18

“Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
    and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
    and rely on his God.” 
Isaiah 50:10 

 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 1:16-20

Like a watchman, I gazed early at the dark sky, awaiting the coming sun to cast its spell of color on the disarray of clouds strewn across the horizon. As I prayed for insight, I watched the answer of celestial light bring to life and vibrancy what had been only grey streaks moments before. Lit from beneath, the clouds now showed texture and shape, and were tinted with glory. God does that.

In His wondrous way, He enlightens our hearts from inside and unseen places to cause us to see and understand anew. He grants spiritual discernment where we’d had confusion, or no answer. He brings clarity and order to every disarray of emotion and thought. He removes the veil of unbelief when we cry for faith to trust His truth. (Mark 9:24; John 20:25-28; 1 Corinthians 14:33)

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Common grace affords some an especially sharp and able intellect, a penchant to think deeply and procure wisdom beyond their years. Yet, for those who do not know Jesus and have not the Spirit, theirs is not a supernatural insight, nor do they have the Spirit’s restraint. “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

For those in Christ, we own spiritual riches, including wisdom and discernment, and the power to implement them. We often need special wisdom for certain situations at specific times, and God grants it, sometimes in answer to our pleading, sometimes as an unexpected anointing. Yet in order for us to develop ongoing, keen spiritual eyesight, He teaches that the foundation for wisdom is to fear Him. He invites us to ask for it, to search for wisdom as treasure. Every murky cloud of unexpected circumstance, disappointment, personal attack, despondency, or forced change is an opportunity to open our eyes to Him and call out, ‘Lord, help me see, and understand!’ Do we avail ourselves His offer? (1 Kings 3:3-9; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 2:1-11; 9:10; Ephesians 1:3; James 1:5)

Lord, open my eyes daily to You, to all You have given me and have for me. Please grant holy insight and the courage to apply it for my times, for every encounter, for Your praise.

We Declare, He Declares

This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have declared today that the LORD is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice. And the LORD has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, and that he will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.” Deuteronomy 26:16-19

In a wedding ceremony, two people make mutual declarations of commitment, vows to love and cherish the other no matter what, for the whole of life. They declare what is true now, and what they determine to uphold in the future. As God was establishing His chosen people, He brought them into a similar union with Him, setting a pattern of their regular offering to Him of their firstfruits, a symbol of their ongoing allegiance to Him. In their careful obedience, they were declaring that He was the LORD their God, worthy of their best, and that they were His holy people, as He had declared over them.

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When we grasp what God has said about us and done for us, our lives will reflect those truths. We can set aside preoccupation with ourselves and think differently from the world: we are God’s treasured possession, His image-bearers. We will value every life, no matter creed or color or nationality, age or accomplishment or background: He breathes breath into living beings, has fearfully and wonderfully made us, and sets in honor His people. We will endeavor to utilize our spiritual gifts in employment of our time and resources: He has given us guidelines for living, and bestowed gifts for the fruitful working of His body, the church. We will offer ourselves as living sacrifices and our means in gratitude: everything we have is from His hands. (Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Psalm 139:13-16; Romans 12:1,3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; James 1:17)

Before we spout forth like tidal waves our opinions, reactions, offenses, criticisms, or corrections, would we contemplate what is true about us, and how that should change our declarations? In what ways will God’s covenant to me inform and direct my view of others, and of required obedience to His principles in dealing with them? What will my speech say about what I believe to be true about God and the people He has designed and created? How do my choices and actions reflect that I am His chosen, the object of His affection, holy as He? (Leviticus 11:44)

Father, because of Your grace banner over me, I declare to You my fealty, my undying and careful devotion to Your ways, my desire to see You glorified in my life and the world. Help me live and speak in a way that brings honor to Your name and exalts You as faithful LORD.

All Our Waste Places

For the Lord comforts Zion;
    he comforts all her waste places
and makes her wilderness like Eden,
    her desert like the garden of the Lord;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
    thanksgiving and the voice of song.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
    and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment…
but my salvation will be forever,
    and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

“Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
    the people in whose heart is my law;
fear not the reproach of man,
    nor be dismayed at their revilings.
My righteousness will be forever,
    and my salvation to all generations.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

“I, I am he who comforts you;
    who are you that you are afraid of man…
 and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker,
    who stretched out the heavens
    and laid the foundations of the earth?”
 Isaiah 51:3,6-8,11-13

Waste places are varied: loss of dreams, livelihood, time never to be retrieved; grief; unseized opportunities; broken relationships; failure; loneliness; destitution. Different shapes and sizes that pierce, gnarl, squeeze, twist, and suffocate. Visible or invisible, eating at lives and homes, cultures and the human heart. But God knows all waste places, and enters them to comfort and redeem. Our every waste place magnifies His astounding haste to grace on our behalf.

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“Break forth, shout joyfully together,
You waste places..;
For the Lord has comforted His people,
He has redeemed.” Isaiah 52:9

Waste as a verb: to use or expend carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose; squander. Verb waste places are often regretted, as there is no turning back or starting over when we have wasted a resource now depleted, or time now past. But waste as a verb is restored by salvation. The Lord says, I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” (Joel 2:25-26)

Waste as an adjective: not used, cultivated, or built on; eliminated or discarded as no longer useful or required. Adjective waste places describe any talent or chance that lies fallow, void of vitality, is never honed to make a difference, or developed to fruition; any trial that is never learned from, or lesson not implemented or applied. But adjective waste places, by God’s Spirit, can be transformed and rejuvenated. God says, “The Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field… I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.” (Isaiah 32:15; 42:16)

Waste as a noun: material that is not wanted; unusable remains or byproducts. We might feel insignificant, unessential, insecure, without purpose or direction. We might own a heritage, a past, an education or experience that seems meaningless. But whether cast off, kicked out, eliminated, or apparently senseless, our noun waste places are redeemed by Jesus. “As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs.” (Psalm 84:6)

Lord, plant Your garden of joy and hope in my wildernesses. Bloom for all the world to see!

Looking for Renewal

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures. 

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.” 

“You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;
    you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
    you provide their grain,
    for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
    settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
    and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
    your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
    the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.
 
Psalm 104:24,30; 65:8-13;

For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
    and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
    and my blessing on your descendants.
They shall spring up among the grass
    like willows by flowing streams.” Isaiah 44:3-4

Love wanes in windswept dearth. Friction roars. Shouts choke, what-ifs drown, peace takes flight into night.

Sun warms a ready earth. Rains pour. Sprouts poke, babies hatch, birds take flight, aright.

How long, oh Lord, until You renew Your people?

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Keeping our eyes on the cracked, thirsty land keeps us looking low, thinking low, feeling low, expecting low. The drone of complaint, incessant warnings of new dread, fiery fears that capture day and night, emotion and thought, will only press and hold us low. When we take in no divine rain, our hearts dry out and harden.

But halt! Arise! Open wide your eyes! Behold the manifold, wondrous works of God, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water”! Trace the visit of His hand, the overflow of beauty and blessing and vibrant life! Face full on His warm sun, and allow it to melt your icy heart. Why wallow in the negative when we can skip in the superlative? Why castigate, criticize, and condemn when we can encourage, elevate, and exalt? Why be parched when we can freely drink? (Psalm 114:8; Revelation 22:17)

The God who renews all things stands ready to create, transform, and enrich. What languishing can I bring for His revival, what unease for His settling? What rough talk needs His smoothing, what hollow affection His filling? What lack needs His abundance, what inertia His vitality? What anger needs His calming, what veil of heaviness His covering of praise? What hollow despair needs hope’s bounty, what dirge needs His song? What doubts will I erase with His sure promises? (Psalm 109:31; Isaiah 61:3)

Lord, visit my soul with a fresh crowning of You. Soften and fill me with Your Spirit so my life sings with gladness and joy, to Your high praise and glory.

Abiding Goes Both Ways

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you… The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you… Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing… When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” “ Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life… Abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” John 14:15-17,26; 15:4-5; 16:13; 1 John 2:24-25,28; 2 John 9

Abide: accept or act in accordance with; continue without fading or being lost; remain; persist; stay; hold on; keep to; tarry; prevail. Old English: ‘wait,’ ‘onwards.’

When Jesus by His Spirit abides in us, and we as His children abide in Him, there is an inextricable bond that is powerful for our everyday living. He is our root, our stalk, our source, our lifeline. We drink Him in, cling as branches, and grow. Once so bound, we are neither separated nor the same, and should always be increasing in Christ-likeness. (2 Corinthians 1:22)

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Our abiding in Christ and His word begins with His abiding in us. His Holy Spirit regenerates our affections, exposes and convicts us of our sin, and compels us to repent and believe. Indwelling and sealing us at salvation, it is He who teaches us about God, stokes our love for His word, inspires us to grow and to tell others of Him. He apportions our gifts, which we then exercise through His power. His abiding word ignites our passion to obey. (John 16:8-11; Acts 1:8; 4:31; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 12:11)

When lashed with an onslaught of the world’s lies and temptations, how tenaciously do I hold on to Jesus? Do I tarry in His word until He has spoken, enlightened, and helped? What fruit in relationships, changed speech or habits, attitudes toward responsibilities, has His indwelling presence borne? (Genesis 17:22)

Lord, keep me abiding in You, holding fast to Your word, and delighting in the fellowship of Your Spirit, that my fruit-bearing display and give taste of Your glory. (2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 5:22-23)

Just Begun

“And I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying, ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’  But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’ So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor.” Deuteronomy 3:23-29

Mighty Moses was finishing the third forty-year season of life, having walked long and humbly with God. He had experienced His Lord’s providential care through his early years and education, His personal call to lead God’s people out of Egypt, and witnessed unexplained, magnificent miracles as God delivered Israel and guided them through the wilderness. (Exodus 2:1-10; 3:1-10; 6:6; 13:21-22; 14:19-30; 16:13-15; Numbers 12:3)

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But Moses had a defining, and painful, moment that punctuated these years. When the incessant whine of the Israelites got to him, he twisted God’s command to speak by striking instead, and was immediately chastised. For not believing, nor upholding God as holy, he would not enter the promised land. The faithful, face to face friend of God, who had experienced His power and glory, His provision and protection, His awesome ‘otherness’ and personal compassion, was ‘just beginning’ to know His infinite greatness, and  he could not get enough. He wanted more; but this side of heaven, that was not to be. (Exodus 33:11,13,18; Numbers 20:11-12)

When we savor God’s amazing grace and new mercies each day, when we behold His indescribable wonders and delight in the works of His hands, every moment can be as though we have just begun to see his magnificent, mighty hand. The more we taste and see, the more we want; what was a most spectacular taste of divine flavor only whets our appetite for a limitless feast. (Psalm 34:8; Lamentations 3:22-23)

Have you and I begun our lifelong relationship with our Lord? How often do we converse, and what are we learning of Him when we do? In any setback, He invites our honesty and sets our passion aright, and steers us forward. May we never tire of marveling at His wondrous deeds, His vibrant majesty, His measureless love toward His own.

Lord, each new day, may I begin afresh with You. May I take delight in my walk with You as though we have just begun. Keep me craving to know You better, pressing on to love You more. And may the expectant way I live draw others to want to take a first step with You. (Galatians 5:25)

Say So, and Sing!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble…

Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,..
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
    and burst their bonds apart.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze
    and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were fools through their sinful ways,
    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;..
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
    and delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!” Psalm 107:1-2,4-10,13-17,19-22

Trouble is part of the life of the redeemed. We cannot avoid it; it takes many forms. But the Lord uses distress as a vehicle for us to recognize our helplessness, cry out for Him, and recognize Him as the great Deliverer. Through this exercise we learn a rhythm of gratitude for His steadfast, unfailing love.

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We may feel we are in an unending cycle of misery, imposed by outside circumstances or of our own making– stifled in a job, trapped in a difficult relationship, miserable in a physical affliction, uncertain about the future. Each trouble reminds us for what Jesus came to die, and from what we have been redeemed. God designs our very distresses in order to sanctify them for our growth and His glory. He trains us to look out from our choking and fretting and selves, and up to our gracious Redeemer. Jesus is the One who slakes our thirst, frees our souls from bondage, burns His light into our darkness, heals our brokenness, and brings peace into our storms. (Isaiah 53:4-5; Mark 4:37-39; John 4:14; 8:12; Galatians 5:1)

Will we take this psalm to heart and sing its song? Will we trace His wondrous works to us, recount His unending goodness and grace, and give thanks?

“O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!
 ~Charles Wesley (1739)

Lord, You are good, Your steadfast love endures, You redeem, You hear every cry, You deliver. Fill my days with saying so!

According to the Blessing

“Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you… Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.” “They gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints.” “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Deuteronomy 16:10,17; 2 Corinthians 8:3-4; Luke 6:38

Regulated celebrations were God’s way of reminding His people He was not only their God, to whom honor was due, but Provider and Giver of all good gifts, to whom thanks was due. Glad tributes to Him and generous giving to others stem from hearts that acknowledge His as Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign. (1 Corinthians 4:7; James 1:17)

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
 Psalm 103:1-10

The Lord has blessed His people with a divine measure of benefits, be they mercies and pardon, material means, or vigor of days. Recent celebrations of 90 years of life; assurance of salvation at age 97; a first birthday; 69, and 40, years of marriage; weddings, graduations, and chemo rounds, are cause to think on the value of our time, our every breath. Do we offer back the days and years according to the blessing of their being entrusted to us? Does all our being resound with freewill tribute of Bless the Lord, O my soul”?

When God entrusts to us insights, ideas, and solutions, how and where are we contributing them? How do we handle means, and opportunities to serve? Do I hoard my cache of goods, wisdom, energy, because I view all as mine to control, or share my bounty out of joyful delight to spread its sweetness? Would I beg God for the favor of participating in His kingdom work, and offer my expertises and my calendar to do so? Where am I seeking opportunities to take part in the relief of the needy, counsel to the confused, comfort to the hurting, hope to the overwhelmed?

Father, according to the blessings You have lavished on me, so let me live and give. Steer my desire and my path to the ways You would have me bless You, and your saints.

One plus All equals Undivided

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” “All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them… Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 86:11; John 17:10-11

The LORD— Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is one. His command that we love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength is a call for us to be undivided in heart to fear and love and live for a unified Him. One God, loved by all of me, is an unbreakable union made possible by Jesus. It is what He came to introduce, lived to display, and died to achieve. Jesus’s love for God brought unwavering commitment to God’s cause, and His love for His people compelled Him to span the bridge over the great divide between our sin and God’s holiness. His wide open arms that ‘love us that much’ bring God and man together in a unity that cannot be broken.

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Our world is divided in many ways: geographically, ideologically, culturally. There are some areas where people will never agree, distinctions that will never disappear, differences that cannot be resolved, but in Christ, the Spirit brings an uncommon and beautiful unity that defies human invention and explanation. (Romans 8:14-16,38-39)

People long for that unity, and cannot help but notice a healthy, palpable oneness when it is present in the Body of Christ. It may attract, it may repel, but it will certainly identify us as Christ’s and affect those observing. The more we love God with all our being, and senses, and impulses, and thoughts, the more His love permeates what we do and say and how we relate to others. As God’s children love Him with their all, they are freer and fuller to love one another, differences notwithstanding. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16; John 13:35)

Are there affections I withhold from God? Do I reserve certain strength to play with the world, or areas of thought to indulge in dark imaginings? Would I surrender all my heart, mind, soul, and strength in adoration of my loving God? And are there strange and foreign names by which I label or dismiss others, or cordon off myself? What am I doing to keep in Jesus’s name, and love others through Him?

Lord, I immerse all I am in You. Unite Your people under Your banner of love, that the world would see and know You as the one true God. (Song of Solomon 2:4)

From Pain and Panic to Perspective and Prayer

As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent… to Isaiah.., ‘This is a day of distress, rebuke, and disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh,.. sent to mock the living God..; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’ [Sennacherib] sent to Hezekiah, saying..: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands. Shall you be delivered?’ 

Hezekiah received the letter, and read it; [he] went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: ‘O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their landsSo now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.’ 

“‘Thus says the Lord:.. Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass… I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake.'” Isaiah 37:1-4,9-11,14-21,26,35

King Hezekiah had every reason to panic. The mighty, cruel armies of Assyria were bearing down, Israel the chosen target in their hungry sights. His people and God had been ridiculed, he himself mocked and maligned by Sennacherib’s general. Then we see the blessed as soon as. Immediately, upon hearing of the enemy advance, the godly king entered the house of the Lord to pray, and sent for Isaiah to pray with him for their nation. He took his pain and panic to the only place worthy, placing them before the One he knew was enthroned above all. (Isaiah 36)

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It is in the place of prayer, exalting God alone, that we gain His perspective on the turmoil and battle that rages about us. As long as we live, there will be the ‘Rabshekah:’ rebel-rousers and opposition, those who accuse, taunt our faith, attempt to shake our confidence in God. Though buffeted, we need not be jarred from our sure foundation, God our Rock. In this world, we have trouble, but in the Lord, we know peace. (Psalm 18:1-2; Matthew 7:24-27: John 16:33)

Are we willing to make the climb, courageous enough to ‘take the letter’ of our concerns, confusion, heartache, and fears, and spread them before the Lord? Do we spend the time to pray and plead until God is finished speaking with us? (Genesis 17:22; 18:33)

Good Father, keep me bowing before Your throne above, even as the world here below encroaches. May I trust, and exemplify, Your Lordship.