Daily Devotion for August 25, 2014
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Secret Garden, a Norwegian Christian group, is not as well known as they deserve; they wrote and first performed both this song and You Raise Me Up, Josh Groban’s great hit.
Prayer to Use Our Gifts Wisely
Lord, give me each day the wisdom to see which things are important, and which things are not. Show me how best to use the time and talents you have given me. Help me to use all my opportunities wisely, that I may share, through service to others, the good gifts I have received from you.
Thanks for the Animals of Creation
Oh God, I thank thee
for all the creatures you have made,
so perfect in their kind —
great animals like the elephant and rhinoceros,
humorous animals like the camel and the monkey,
friendly ones like the dog and the cat,
working ones like the horse and the ox,
timid ones like the squirrel and the rabbit,
majestic ones like the lion and the tiger,
for birds with their songs.
Oh Lord give me such love for your creation,
that love may cast out fear,
and all the creatures see in man
their priest and friend,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Let love cast out fear.]
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 30:1-2, 6-7 (ESV)
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
2 Kings 18 (excerpts) (ESV)
Israel after Solomon (21): Hezekiah, King of Judah
In the third year of Hoshea king of Israel, Hezekiah, king of Judah, began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.
In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, the king of Assyria [defeated Samaria and] carried the Israelites away to Assyria.
And the king of Assyria sent a great army to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. When they arrived, they called for the king: “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?’”
Then the [Assyrian general] stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord. Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?’”
But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.”
Notes on the Scripture
At the time Assyria destroyed the Kingdom of Israel and transported the ten tribes as slaves — the beginning of the great Jewish diaspora — a man named Hezekiah was sitting as King of Judah. It is fairly easy to see what is happening in Judah, at the time the Kingdom of Israel was wiped from the earth by Assyria.
Judah is a smaller and weaker nation than Israel was, and Assyria has become an overwhelming power in the Middle East. Time is compressed somewhat in 2 Kings; it actually took Assyria about 20 or 30 years to besiege Jerusalem. So this is sometime just before 700 B.C. Judah is a sitting duck; just look at the map!
But Hezekiah has something on his side that neither Israel nor mighty Egypt had: the favor of the Lord. Hezekiah is righteous; he has torn down all the false idols. He even recaptured some territory around modern-day Gaza, although the Assyrians soon took it away from him.
So the tiny Kingdom of Judah sits in the middle of a sea of Assyrian soldiers, like a chihuahua surrounded by a pack of wolves. But Hezekiah, and the people, are utterly defiant. Hezekiah is the blood descendant of David, the rightful king, anointed by God; and if David could stand up to Goliath, Hezekiah can stand up to Assyria. (Psalm 30, excerpted above, runs in the same vein.) He has another big plus in his favor: as we will see, tomorrow, he has an advisor who is one of the great prophets of Hebrew history — Isaiah.