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The Assyrians Challenge God

28Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 31Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree, and drink water from your own cistern, 32until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey, that you may live and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. 33Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered its land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 35Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’” 36But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” 37Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh. (2 Kings 18:28-37, NRSV)

Who do you believe, God or others?

Who is it easier to believe?

We are pulled in many different directions and it is hard to know who to trust, and sometimes God seems so far away that we aren’t sure we can actually trust God.

But God is sometimes the only one we can trust. So never lose trust in God.

 

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The Assyrian Attack

13In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14King Hezekiah of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” The king of Assyria demanded of King Hezekiah of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts that King Hezekiah of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 18When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder. (2 Kings 18:13-18, NRSV)

When you need something do you steal it from someone else?

Hezekiah took the money that Sennacherib asked for from the Temple of God. He stole it so he didn’t look in his own storehouses to find the requested tribute but took it from God.

How often do we steal from God?

What have you stolen from God?

 

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King Hezekiah Reigns

In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign. 2He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. 3He did what was right in the sight of the Lord just as his ancestor David had done. 4He removed the high places, broke down the pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan. 5He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him. 6For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. 7The Lord was with him; wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. 8He attacked the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city. (2 Kings 18:1-8, NRSV)

Do you follow after God?

Are you a man or woman of the Lord?

Do you take down things that do not bring glory to God?

But here is the real question, how do we do this in a modern pluralistic society where we are told to get along with those that are different from us? We can not just go around taking down other denominations or religion’s places of worship. But we can focus our lives on following after where God is leading us and loving our neighbor. In doing that we are removing the high places from our lives and focusing on the author and perfector of our faith.

Follow God and make God first in your life. Then love your neighbor/

 

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Israel, God’s Vineyard

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord3His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. (11:1-5, NRSV)

A shoot will come out of Jesse and a branch will grow from its roots.

That shoot was David and the branch led to Jesus. You see this is a part of the story of God and part of your story.

God planned back before Jesse, that David would be a great king and through his lineage, the Messiah would be born. The Messiah would have understanding and might, and knowledge and fear of the Lord. The Messiah would be what the people needed, not what they wanted, but what they needed.

Were we ready for the Messiah, are you ready now?

 

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Jehu Anointed King of Israel

Then the prophet Elisha called a member of the company of prophets and said to him, “Gird up your loins; take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. 2When you arrive, look there for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi; go in and get him to leave his companions, and take him into an inner chamber. 3Then take the flask of oil, pour it on his head, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee; do not linger.” 4So the young man, the young prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. 5He arrived while the commanders of the army were in council, and he announced, “I have a message for you, commander.” “For which one of us?” asked Jehu. “For you, commander.” 6So Jehu got up and went inside; the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, “Thus says the Lord the God of Israel: I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. 7You shall strike down the house of your master Ahab, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord8For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. 9I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. 10The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and no one shall bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled. (2 Kings 9:1-10, NRSV)

Go and anoint one of the generals of Ahab’s armies as the new king of Israel. But do not linger after you have done it, because Jezebel will have you killed. Sometimes God sends us like sheep into the wolves and has us do things that are dangerous for us to undertake. God does this to help us trust God.

Do you trust God to watch over you in everything you do and to guide you?

 

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Naaman Returns Home

15Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.” 16But he said, “As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing!” He urged him to accept, but he refused. 17Then Naaman said, “If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the Lord18But may the Lord pardon your servant on one count: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow down in the house of Rimmon, when I do bow down in the house of Rimmon, may the Lord pardon your servant on this one count.” 19He said to him, “Go in peace.” But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, 20Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, “My master has let that Aramean Naaman off too lightly by not accepting from him what he offered. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something out of him.” 21So Gehazi went after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he jumped down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is everything all right?” 22He replied, “Yes, but my master has sent me to say, ‘Two members of a company of prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim; please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’” 23Naaman said, “Please accept two talents.” He urged him, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and gave them to two of his servants, who carried them in front of Gehazi. 24When he came to the citadel, he took the bags from them, and stored them inside; he dismissed the men, and they left. 25He went in and stood before his master; and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He answered, “Your servant has not gone anywhere at all.” 26But he said to him, “Did I not go with you in spirit when someone left his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to accept money and to accept clothing, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves? 27Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you, and to your descendants forever.” So he left his presence leprous, as white as snow. (2 Kings 5:15-27, NRSV)

We do not do things for the Lord for a reward. We do not expect payment for doing the work of the Lord.

We are to do what God has called us to do without asking for anything in return because God has given to us freely so that we might freely give.

Your reward may be something you don’t want. Allow God’s grace to be enough.

 

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Naaman Healed of Leprosy

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 2Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” 8But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” 11But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean. (2 Kings 5:1-14, NRSV)

This is a great passage because people get angry because of assumptions.

The king of Israel is mad because he thinks the king of Aram is picking a fight with him because he heard there was a prophet of God in Israel that could heal his general. And then Naama is mad because what he is told to do is too easy and why wouldn’t the prophet come out for me, doesn’t he know who I am?

And yet Elisha told Naaman what to do and Naaman’s servant tells him if it were something hard you would have done it without question, so why not do this? So he did and he is cured.

How often do we make things worse than they should be by assuming or not wanting to do what is simple?

 

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