Saturday, October 29, 2016

Will You Let Your Voice Be Heard?

2 Chronicles 32:7-8, "'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.' And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah."

As all of you well know, the election is coming up in less than two weeks. There are many debates that have taken place, and everyone has their own opinion about who should or shouldn't be elected. Most of us have strong opinions on the subject.

I've never been one who likes politics. I don't like debate, and I'd prefer that everyone would see eye to eye. However, with this election that is about to take place, I've found my heart overwhelmed inside about where our nation is headed.

Watching our nation that was built on Christian principles choose to go down a path that is encouraging us to take God out of the picture seems too much to bear. I've been tempted to sit back silently thinking that I'm only one voice and that what I have to say or do won't be enough to make the slightest difference, but I know that isn't what would honor God.

I picked up my voting packet this morning and filled in the bubbles on the page. I prayed God would guide me as I chose who to vote for, and I decided that although my vote seems like a small drop in the bucket, it'd be a sad reality if every Christian in America thought the same thing and decided not to let their voice be heard.

I alone cannot make a difference, but the God I serve certainly can! He isn't asking me to save the world. He is asking me to walk in obedience to Him.

As I spent quiet time with God this morning, I read 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 and found great encouragement. It read: "'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.' And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah."

I went back and read 2 Chronicles 32 to see what was taking place in the whole chapter. What I found is this: 2 Chronicles 31:20-32:1 says, "Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. And every work that he undertook in the service of God, he did with all his heart, and prospered. After these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself."

Hezekiah, the king following God, versus Sennacherib, the king who thought of himself as God...

2 Chronicles 32:10-15: "Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, 'On what are you trusting, that you endure the siege in Jerusalem? Is not Hezekiah misleading you, that he may give you over to die by famine and by thirst, when he tells you, 'The Lord our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria'? Has not this same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, 'Before one altar you shall worship, and on it you shall burn your sacrifices"? Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of our lands? Were the gods of the nations of these lands at all able to deliver their lands out of my hand? Who among all the gods of those nations that my fathers devoted to destruction was able to deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? Now, therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people form my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!'"


If you read on in the chapter, you see more of this behavior from Sennacherib. Verse 17 says, "And he wrote letters to cast contempt on the Lord, the God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, 'Like the gods of the nations of the lands who have not delivered their people from my hands, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver his people from my hand."

What was Hezekiah supposed to do with all of this? Judah had been invaded by a king who had no respect for Hezekiah or the God he served.

Verse 20 has the answer: "Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven."

This morning, after finishing my ballot and then spending some quiet time with God, I poured my heart out in prayer about the state of our nation. There are some very sinful things taking place right now that are being categorized not as "sinful" but as "choice". My heart is heavy, and I poured it out to God in prayer.

Will my prayer make a difference? Will the cries of Christians in America be heard?

Let's look back at Hezekiah. Verses 21-22 say, "And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword. So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side."

I guarantee that the same God Who heard Hezekiah's prayer hears ours too.

Previous chapters before this story about Hezekiah, God gave a promise to Solomon after he finished the house of the Lord and the kings house. 2 Chronicles 7:12-13 says, "Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: 'I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Our God is the same God today that He was then. He still hears our prayers and is looking for people who will do exactly as these verses say. We, His people, need to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. We need to not conform with our nation and culture that is begging us to blend in in the name of "tolerance". We need to be a people who will stand up for what is right and true even if it means persecution.

When I say "stand up for what is right and true" I do NOT mean in an obnoxious way. The world is tired of obnoxious Christians. What I am saying is that we need to find the healthy balance of living out Ephesians 4:15 which says, "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ..."

Will you be a voice this election?

Dear Heavenly Father,

My heart is heavy today as I think about where our nation is at and where it is headed. Lord, it's not too late. I pray that as Christians we will rise up and stand for what is right and true. Show us how to take a stand for You, not in an obnoxious way, but rather in a loving AND truthful way. Show us the balance between truth and love. We cannot lean too heavily to one side or the other. They go hand in hand and both need to be present. I pray for our nation to turn back to You. Forgive us, Lord, for sinning against You. Please be Who we build this nation upon again. In Jesus' Name.