for God's own sake

For God’s Own Sake

Special Note: During this season of the Coronavirus, I’m doing a special daily devotional on YouTube.
Click here for today’s video devotional.

“Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria:

‘He shall not come into this city,
Nor shoot an arrow there,
Nor come before it with shield,
Nor build a siege mound against it.
By the way that he came,
By the same shall he return;
And he shall not come into this city,’
Says the LORD.
‘For I will defend this city, to save it
For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”
(2 Kings 19:32-34)

After all the threats from the enemy and prayers to the LORD, God finally brought His answer to King Hezekiah. Through the prophet Isaiah, God assured the king: He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there… for I will defend this city, to save it. With this word, God plainly and clearly drew a line. Although the Assyrian military machine was ready to begin a siege against Jerusalem and ultimately crush them, they would not. The king of Assyria would not come into this city because God promised to defend it.

for God's own sake

It is hard for modern people to understand the horror of an ancient siege, when a city was surrounded by a hostile army and trapped into a slow, suffering starvation. King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem lived under the shadow of this threat, but God’s promise through Isaiah assured them that Sennacherib and the Assyrian army would not only fail to capture the city but would not even shoot an arrow or build a siege mound against Jerusalem. God promised that they wouldn’t even begin a siege.

Why? Why would God defend Jerusalem in such an amazing way? God said He would do it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake. God would defend His own glory. Often, we unnecessarily think that we must defend the glory of the LORD. But that isn’t really the case. God is more than able to defend His own glory.

Yet notice that God also did it for My servant David’s sake. King David had died almost 300 years before this, but God still honored His promise to David (2 Samuel 7:10-17). God defended Jerusalem, not for the city’s sake at all – Jerusalem deserved judgment! But He did it for His own sake and for the David’s sake.

This principle applies to everyone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ. In the same way, God the Father defends and blesses us, not for our own sake – we deserve His judgment – but He does it for His own sake, and for the sake of Jesus. We don’t have to come to God on the basis of what we have earned or what we deserve. Instead, in Jesus Christ, we come to God on the basis of who Jesus is and what He has done.

The Father will save and rescue the believer – for His own sake, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, the Son of David.

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Kings 19

because you prayed

Because You Prayed

Special Note: During this season of the Coronavirus, I’m doing a special daily devotional on YouTube.
Click here for today’s video devotional.

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.’ This is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning him:

‘The virgin, the daughter of Zion,
Has despised you, laughed you to scorn;
The daughter of Jerusalem
Has shaken her head behind your back!
(2 Kings 19:20-21)

A mighty army surrounded Jerusalem, and the Kingdom of Judah was a small step from total defeat. The enemy of Israel – the general of the Assyrian army – has spoken, speaking against God and His people. The king of Israel – Hezekiah – has spoken, pouring out his heart to God in prayer.

because you prayed

Now, it was time for God to speak. The LORD spoke these words through the prophet Isaiah, beginning with these important words: Because you have prayed to Me. God had a glorious answer to Hezekiah’s prayer, but God said that the answer came because you have prayed to Me.

So, imagine for a moment: What if Hezekiah had not prayed? We are then to assume that no answer would have come, and Jerusalem would have been conquered. Think about it: the course of history was changed because God answered the prayers of one man. Hezekiah’s prayer really mattered.

Please understand: your prayers matter. I can’t tell you exactly how our prayers and God’s eternal plan mesh together. There is definite, glorious mystery at work there. But I can tell you this: prayer is much more than a self-improvement exercise. It is true that prayer does make me a better person; but it also moves the hand of God.

Prayer will never make God do something against His will and purpose, but there are things within the plan and purpose of God that He deliberately withholds until His people start praying.

We should ask: How many blessings, how many victories, how many souls saved for Jesus’ glory, lie unclaimed in heaven until the LORD can say to each one of us, “because you have prayed to Me”?

The deliverance would be so complete and wonderful for Jerusalem that God said to the Assyrians, the virgin, the daughter of Zion, has despised you, laughed you to scorn. The idea was that the Assyrians had come to ravish the daughter of Zion, the city of Jerusalem, but God would not allow it.

Instead of being a frightened victim of the Assyrians, the people of Jerusalem would despise the mighty Assyrians and would end up laughing them to scorn. God would give Judah and Jerusalem such a complete victory that God’s people would shake their head at the Assyrians. This all happened because God answered the prayers of one man.

No one can say why some prayers seem to be answered soon and why some take so long. Yet we know this: God wants us to know that our prayers matter – and that He will do great things because you have prayed.

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Kings 19

Selah Season

Selah Season

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Strange time, isn’t it? I don’t think many of us have ever experienced something like this before. All our normal routines have changed, and most all of us are doing church over the internet if at all. We’re preaching to empty rooms and video cameras, and trying to connect with people the best we can. As God may lead us, we’re trying new things and trying to figure out how to help God’s people and a needy world.

I won’t pretend to have “Gods’ word for this time.” I think there is a lot that God is doing in this season, and God will probably move in some ways that we may have no idea of at the moment.

Selah Season

So, let me suggest one thing to pay attention to: God has us in a Selah Season.

You know that word Selah, don’t you? Selah appears 74 times in the Old Testament – 71 times in the Psalms and 3 times in Habakkuk. The idea in the Hebrew for this word is a pause. Some think that this was a musical instruction, perhaps calling for a musical interlude of some kind. But most scholars think Selah speaks of a reflective pause, a pause to meditate on the words just spoken. Maybe it was both – “meditate on these words while you listen to this music.”

Right now, many of us are in a forced “pause” – a Selah. You weren’t looking for it, but here it is. So, let’s Selah – and look at a few places in the Psalms where we are told to pause, and to think about something.

Pause for confident praise: Psalm 44:8 
In God we boast all day long,
And praise Your name forever. Selah

Pause for assurance of God’s presence: Psalm 46:7 
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Pause to find your shelter in God: Psalm 32:7 
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

Pause to realize that we are weak and that life is short: Psalm 39:4-6 
LORD, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am.
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah

Pause for unshakable confidence: Psalm 46:1-3 
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

Pause to consider the assurance of our resurrection: Psalm 49:15 
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,
For He shall receive me. Selah

You can keep going on your own. Take time to pause, and there’s no better place to take a pause than where God tells you to. Meditate on the Selahs in the Psalms.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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