It seems like every other chapter in the Old Testament dealt with Israel defending itself from another nation.
Sometimes, the message went forth that the Lord was for the city and would defend it from its enemies; at other times, the message was the exact opposite and the Lord would hand the nation over to its enemies.
In Isaiah 36 and 37, the Assyrian King Sennacherib was the foe. The people of Judah, under King Hezekiah, fasted and prayed to the Lord for deliverance, and the Lord answered and delivered the city. Isaiah 37:36 –
Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!
Imagine waking up to that scene! There was much celebration and praise given to Yahweh that day.
Fast forward just two chapters to Isaiah 39, and this time the message goes forth that when the Babylonian King comes, the city will be delivered over to its enemies. Listen to the warning in Isaiah 39:6 –
The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD.
So, what happens? In Jeremiah 28, the nation of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem. The false prophet Hananiah goes out proclaiming the deliverance of the Lord. Jeremiah receives the true message from the Lord and counters the message of Hananiah: The Lord will deliver Jerusalem into the hands of its enemies.
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will put an iron yoke on the necks of all these nations to make them serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they will serve him.
Now, imagine those who believed the message of the false prophet! “Peace and Safety!” he cried, when that message was for an earlier time in Israel’s history. The true message for the day was to flee the city for trouble was coming.
What time are we living in?
I think the better question should be: What should our response be? America has experienced a financial shaking. There are rogue nations – Iran, North Korea – developing nuclear technology with the intent on harming the US. There are famines, fires, and new pandemics (the Swine Flu) breaking out.
I just can’t see the message relevant to today’s Christians being one of peace, safety, and prosperity. Our response should be one of Deuteronomy 28-29 and 2 Chronicles 7:14. We need to pray, fast, and seek the Lord now – it is vital we develop a history in God while we still can.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
This isn’t something we want to cram for the night before. It’s time to move past conferences that teach us how to grin and bear our quiet times and pursue walking out the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle before everything falls apart.
Is my heart ready to stay steadfast in love to Jesus no matter what is happening around me?
Jesus, give me strength to do this! I am so weak! Give me grace to fast, grace to pray.
God’s dealing with individuals is very different from how He deals with nations. I can be in church on Sunday and feel the presence of God and then the next day America could be invaded by another country. This wouldn’t change at all my experience the previous day.
I am no prophet and yet these things stand out to me.
If my response from the message that has gone out puts in me even more fire to run hard after Jesus…….
Seems to me to be the message of the day. 😉