Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Panic or Pray?

"I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears."
Psalm 34: 4 (NIV)

How do you respond to a crisis? Do you panic? Are you fearful? Or do you turn to God and cry out to Him for help?

In my youth, I tended to panic and try to fix things myself, rather than asking for God's wisdom, help, and guidance. I learned leaving God out of the equation was not wise. It was painful.

King Ahaz faced the enemy invasion of King Rezin and King Pekah. Although King Ahaz was evil, God sent Isaiah to assure Ahaz  these kings would not succeed. Ahaz was exhorted to keep calm, not fear, and stand firm. The LORD offered Ahaz a sign, for which Ahaz refused to ask. The LORD, however, gave him the sign anyway. In his crisis, Ahaz sought help from his enemy, Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria. He placed his confidence in a man, rather than the LORD. Tiglath-Pileser gave Ahaz trouble rather than help. King Ahaz became more unfaithful to God, and  sought help from the gods of Damascus, but they were his downfall.  Ahaz provoked the God of his fathers to anger. ( 2 Kings 16; 2 Chron. 28; Isaiah 7 ).
In crisis moments, choose to seek God and pray. We can trust his character. He is our refuge and strength, and always ready to help us  in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
LORD God, when we are in distress, help us to trust you and not fear. You alone are our true security! In the mighty name of Jesus, the hope of the world...amen.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Path of Our Feet

"Jotham became mighty because he ordered his ways
before the LORD his God."
2 Chron. 27: 6 (NAS)
My husband and I were enjoying a brisk walk with our dog, Chloe, when I pulled my smart phone out of my pocket to check the "Map My Walk" app. Curious about how far we'd walked, I took my focus off the path failing to see the sidewalk was not level. My toe caught an uneven place, and I went tumbling. I hit my head and fell on my side, certain I broke ribs. After walking home, I was dizzy and in a great deal of pain. I needed help not only to sit, but to stand as well. I was a mess. My thoughts were plagued by "If only I'd paid attention...".

Jotham, king of Judah ( 2 Kings 15: 32- 38; 2 Chron. 27) is described as a man who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. He rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple, and also built towns, forts, and towers. He warred against his enemies and conquered them. Jotham did not repeat the sin of his father Uzziah. God allowed Jotham to grow powerful because he ordered his ways before the LORD his God (2 Chron. 27:6).

"Ordered"  (kuwn; Strong's number 3559) means "to be firm", "be stable", "be established", "to be fixed", "be steadfast". From Baker & Carpenter's Complete Word Study Old Testament Dictionary, it  is "a verb meaning to set up, to make firm, to establish, to prepare. The primary action of this verb is to cause to stand in an upright position, and thus the word also means fixed or steadfast." The same Hebrew word is used in Proverbs 4: 26 "Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established."

The things of this world can distract and trip us up. The fall can leave us bruised, broken and regretful. Jotham is an example of one who stood firm in the midst of a corrupt generation. He was diligent to watch his path and fix his focus on the LORD his God. May the LORD bless us with His wisdom, and help us to be steadfast to follow His ways.