There is something to be said about the effectiveness of intimidation. It knows how to tap in to our insecurities, keeps pricking our skin as we pursue something beautiful, meaningful, God-given.
It is the thorn keeping you from the rose.
It is the weapon of the bully because it works.
I've said it before... evil is not smart enough to create a new strategy when the old ones work on us so well.
Bullies are rampant in our society. We all at some point have been held back or hesitated because of their strong-arm tactics. And yes, like children at recess the attack can be literal. But the real battle is not in what we see, but what we allow to play in and plague our thoughts.
Never mind who you're fighting on the playground.
Who is the master of your mind?
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.” The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents [11 tons] of silver and thirty talents [1 ton] of gold. So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace. At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the Lord, and gave it to the king of Assyria. ~ 2 Kings 18:13-16 (New International Version)
Assyrian King Sennacherib (meaning "brambled" or "thorny") lived true to his name. He was a thorn in the side of the Israelites. By this time, the kingdom was divided into Judah and Israel. Israel has been taken captive by Sennacherib. King Hezekiah and Judah were next. Hezekiah was so intimidated by the potential of defeat that he gave Sennacherib all he wanted, even the gold covering the door and the doorposts of the temple that he and the people worked so hard to restore.
He thought it would be enough. It wasn't.
Sennacherib was not coming for the kingdom's wealth. He wanted to dominate the king's mind.
You can't reason with a bully. Bullies must be conquered.
But how? How do you make God the Master of your mind?
Two things are necessary to take back what God gave you:
You have to act like you know who you are.
Hezekiah and the people of Judah had already made it clear who they would serve, and God rewarded them for it. But Sennacherib was an enemy that would not relent. He defeated Israel, struck Judah's fortified cities. Now, he was taunting and terrorizing the the people.
Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamathand Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” ~ 2 Kings 18:32b-35
But when you are secure in who you are as a child of living God, the taunts of the devil cannot prompt you to lower yourself to his level.
But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.”
So I ask you... are you a King's kid or what?
It's time to act like you know who is KING.
Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. ~Psalms 24:8-10
Every fight is not with your fists. We fight different...
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 2:5
The book of Isaiah prophesied that Jesus, The Lamb Who Was Slain, would not open His mouth against his persecutors. Why would He? He knew who He was. Do you?
Don't get caught up in the head games. If Jesus is the head of your life, live like it.
Allow your pain to propel you to a GREATER POWER.
Sennacherib was what I call a "spiritual terrorist". He would not ease up on Hezekiah. Just kept pressing until finally Hezekiah began to feel oppressed...
"...pray for the remnant that still survives.”
This is not a victory speech. This is a white flag. He had gone to the prophet (Isaiah) for support, but it wasn't enough. After after Sennacherib's final letter, Hezekiah went to THE SOURCE.
And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear;open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.” ~2 Kings 19:15-19
Sometimes, our backs have to be up against a wall in order for us to see beyond ourselves to what is really going on. This was never about Hezekiah. This was about God. Sennacherib wanted to be God, and that God would NOT allow. Isaiah sent word to Hezekiah that the Lord heard his prayer. He would take it from here:
This is the word that the Lord has spoken against him [Sennacherib]: “‘Virgin Daughter Zion despises you and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! ~2 Kings 19:20-22
I LOVE IT!
It's as if God was saying, "Let me clear my throat. Don't you know who I am?"
(Respect to DJ Kool, Biz Markie & Dougie Fresh)
I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came.’
PLEASE read chapter 19! That's the LORD talking. When we come to the Master, HE will reveal who's in charge.
The angel of the Lord killed one hundred eight-five Assyrians over night. Sennacherib ran away in fear, only to be killed later by his own. Hezekiah and the people of Judah were safe.
The Master of the Universe will gladly have our back when He has control.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~Romans 12:2
Let GOD have control.
See you next week.
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