Driving to the Adirondack mountains presented me with many familiar sights. Winding roads, unique landmarks, no-name towns that stretch one after the other into the foothills that get dwarfed by the mountain range the farther you go. On this trip, I was more aware of it all. It had been years since I’d been back but this was more than a reunion with the mountain range of my childhood. I was introducing my children to a part of my life that has forever been with me. I got to share my roots with my daughters.
My heart stirs at the sights from a mountain top. Can you really look at something so beautiful and not be moved by the hand of God? Is it possible to deny the Creator when you so clearly see the magnificence of the creation? It calls to me. I see Him in the clouds – the dust beneath his feet. I feel him in the wind. I hear him in the birds’ song. He is there. He is here.
Yet people have denied Him for all of time. They look at their success as the doings of their own hands and are deceived by this false sense of power. It happens now just as it happened thousands of years ago, when King Hezekiah ruled over Judah.
I love the story of Hezekiah, one of the great kings in the Bible. He loved God and obeyed Him. He lived circumspectly, recognizing that God is the only God. That God is THE King, while he, Hezekiah, is just a king. By this principle he ruled his kingdom. And as he watched Assyria lay siege to the surrounding kingdoms for years, Hezekiah stood firmly on the Word of God.
Then the king of Assyria sent his messenger to threaten Hezekiah and all the peoples of Judah. He mocked Hezekiah. He mocked God. Wasn’t it God’s altars on the high places that Hezekiah destroyed? Has any other god been able to save their people from Assyria’s sword? No! I, the King of Assyria, am the powerful one. Surrender to me – bow to me – and I will bless you. You don’t stand a chance against me.
This type of mockery is part of our society too. We’re shamed into thinking compromise is right. Shrewd messengers of doubt and deception expose every weak spot in our defenses. Lies are cleverly disguised as shreds of truth. But that’s just it. They shred the truth.
But, as King Hezekiah knew, power comes and goes, as ordained by God and not by the will of man.So he didn’t rely on the strength of his army or the wisdom of his advisers. He turned to God. And God responded with a beautiful promise. He tells Hezekiah that for two years the remnant of Judah, all the people that survived this multi-year attack, will eat from what the fields produce on their own. In the third year, they will plant their fields again and eat from the new crop. They were promised life.
This is sweetly shared in 2 King 19:30. The ESV says it this way: “And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.” Take root downward and bear fruit upward. This promise was specific to the place and time of King Hezekiah, but there’s a principle here for us to understand. King Hezekiah’s faith was rooted in God. If he had listened to the messengers and surrendered, if he had compromised, if he had allowed fear to drive him to believe the lies, then he would never have received this promise. But because Hezekiah was rooted in the truth of God’s word and trusted in Him alone, the nation of Judah was spared. And God hasn’t changed. When we are rooted in the Gospel, in the truth of scripture and all it teaches about who God is and what he stands for, then we too will receive this blessing. When the attacks come, we can stand confident, knowing that when our lives are rooted downward into Jesus, we WILL bear fruit upward.
Abundantly More – Knowing God and Making God Known.
And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and will grow up and flourish. – 2 Kings 19:30 NLT
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