Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

23 Preparing for Peace – Part 1

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2 Chronicles 32:1-5

1 After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out this work, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified towns, giving orders for his army to break through their walls. 2 When Hezekiah realized that Sennacherib also intended to attack Jerusalem, 3 he consulted with his officials and military advisers, and they decided to stop the flow of the springs outside the city. 4 They organized a huge work crew to stop the flow of the springs, cutting off the brook that ran through the fields. For they said, “Why should the kings of Assyria come here and find plenty of water?” 5 Then Hezekiah worked hard at repairing all the broken sections of the wall, erecting towers, and constructing a second wall outside the first. He also reinforced the supporting terraces[a] in the City of David and manufactured large numbers of weapons and shields.

We live in uncertain times and there are a lot of things that can create panic in our hearts and cause us to focus on fear. Right now before you read any further I’m going to ask you to take the time to write down your fears, those uncertainties that work you over with worry. Now that you have name your fear I want to remind you that you are not alone, you are not the first person to face problems and want to panic.   We have a tendency to forget the pressures and problems that previous generations of people have had to face. The Bible is a book written to and about people who lived in uncertain times. Moses was called to the mission of leading people out of slavery, David faced Goliath, Peter stood and preached to the crowds on Pentecost. All of these people lived through times of great uncertainty. So how do we face these trying times of uncertainty?  We have to remember that life is uncertain, but God is not, that no matter what happens, we have a King that is in control. As the song “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” says: Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow. In 2 Chronicles 32 we come across a man who had to face fearful and uncertain times and figure out how do I handle the hard things that came at him in these trying times. In 722 Assyria wiped out the Northern Kingdom of Israel who had turned from trusting God to serving sin. Then in 715 BC Hezekiah became king of Judah, the southern kingdom, when he was just 25 years old. He married the daughter of a prophet named Zechariah, talk about marrying the preachers kid, and one of his close friend was Isaiah. When he became king the country was in chaos, Judah had been led away from God in every way imaginable. They were worshipping false gods up on the hills, out in the open for all to see. These were a people who had fallen into spiritual prostitution, who no longer worshipped, obeyed, or even acknowledged God. As a result the whole country was falling apart, craving and caving to the carnal, focusing on the feel good instead of their heavenly Father.  So when Hezekiah became king he chose to confront the chaos and clean house and for over a decade he faithfully continued. In 2 Chronicles 29-31 we see story after story of how Hezekiah boldly brought God back to the center of their country. He used his position of power to bring purity and peace, challenging his culture of corruption and transforming it with God’s truth. So much so that it says it was a transformation like nothing ever seen since David was king three hundred years earlier. It is here that we would love to linger and even live, but this success is not where the story stops. No chapter 32 introduces us to an invading army, after all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria shows up and lays siege. Even though for over a decade Hezekiah has done everything right, trouble still turns up. This is where we may be tempted to turn and say “But God, I don’t understand, I was doing everything right so why did you let this happen to me?” Why is it that we seem to think that if we follow the Father and do what is right we won’t have to deal with difficulties and that somehow our problems will all be gone never to return again? Hezekiah’s response reminds us of the truth that just because we trust in God and do what is right does not guarantee us a problem free life. So rather than shaking his fist at God, blaming and pouting because somehow God is not playing fair he chooses to face the fear head on. We need to remember that the presence of problems doesn’t necessarily point to a lack of living for the Lord and it certainly doesn’t diminish His power. It is here that we see our first lesson, that in times of uncertainty, we still have responsibility to respond rightly. When uncertainty show up there are still things that we are responsible for. Suppose you saw a farmer sitting on his tractor, pouting and you asked him what was wrong? Well He responds I’m mad at God because the harvest isn’t what I thought it would be. As you look out into the fields you see nothing growing so you start to ask some questions. What happened was it drought, no we got plenty of rain. Is the soil not fertile? No they tested it and its fine and that is why I am so mad at God. I’ve got good soil nice rain so I should have had a good harvest. Well is it the seed you planted? What seed he reply’s, I didn’t plant any. At this point you would be thinking what an idiot, I mean if you don’t sow any seed how can you expect a harvest? You see Hezekiah responded to these times of uncertainty by planting some seeds. He chose to do three practical things that provide a pattern for us today. Today we will deal with the first one:

  • Put your house in order.

To get his house in order Hezekiah did three things, he blocked off the bad, mended the broken, and bolstered the weak. He took a personal inventory of where things were at and then got down to business so his house would be in order. What were the things that you wrote down earlier, the uncertainties in your life? I want you to take these thoughts and apply them to the issues of your life. First Hezekiah blocked off the bad, he noted the springs outside the walls of the city and thought “why would I let the enemy have access to anything that would cause them to linger, why would I give them a foothold and strengthening their resolve.” What are the springs in your life that could supply and strengthen the enemies advancing on your position through the habits, attitudes and patterns of your thinking? It could be that you are facing a time of financial uncertainty, yet you choose to keep chasing after a lifestyle that is not sustainable. What if you chose to live within your means? What if you stopped the flow of wants and dammed up the desires of more? When it comes to those relationships that have a tendency to pull and push you away from purity, what if you were bold and block out their influence. Or spiritual you may find that your busyness leaves no time for being with God, so what if you chose to block out some time to spend in His presence? In short we need to stop doing the things that cause the enemy to make camp outside our city. Next he mended the broken, he working hard to repair those sections of the wall that had been damaged. At one point these parts of the wall were once strong and in good repair but time and trials had taken their toll. We too have gaps in our wall, things that might once have been healthy but are now battered and broken. It could be the communication in your marriage, or trust in a relationship. It could be your physical body or even a bank account. What it says here is that they worked hard, it’s not easy but it is necessary. What is it that is broken in your life, what is it that really needs your time and attention? Next he bolstered the weak, he not only reinforced the supporting terraces but he built another wall outside the first. There are areas in our life right now that may seem fine but what if the enemy concentrated all of his effort on that particular point, he might just break through. So we need to stop being lax and instead take a look at what we need to reinforce. What are your potential weak points? Where are you vulnerable? Don’t procrastinate and wait until the storm hits, prepare, be proactive, put your house in order. Where do you need to blocked off the bad, mended the broken and bolstered the weak areas in your life?

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