A few years ago, as I was wandering around the Canyon Sainte-Anne, near Quebec City, I was mesmerized by the numerous trees growing out of tiny crevasses from rocks overhanging the precipice. Incredible!
What’s even more amazing is how it came to be. The first plants that appear in the tiny crevasses of rocks are lichens, creating a humid habitat that favors the growth of moss. Eventually that moss dries out and decomposes, forming a thin layer of humus. That cycle occurs over and over. Eventually the crevasse has enough humus for plant life.
Before anyone knows it, trees start to develop, adding sufficient humus to allow microscopic animals and insects to live and reproduce. Trees thrive as they use their own roots to crawl along the surface of the rock to find enough moisture for survival.
Life cannot be stopped, even by bare rocks! Nothing is impossible!
Still, some of us tend to spread death instead of life, through words and deeds, just like the field commander, a minion of Sennacherib, King of Assyria, who wanted to conquer Jerusalem. He was determined to make a name for himself, and no one and nothing would stop him.
Surrounding the city, he brought forth impeccable logic according to human standards:
1. “Tell Hezekiah: This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours?” (2Kgs 18:19, NIV2)
2. “Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.” (2Kgs 18:25, NIV2)
3. “Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.'” (2Kgs 18:30, NIV2)
4. “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own-a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!” (2Kgs 18:31- 32, NIV2)
5. “Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand?” (2Kgs 18:33-34, NIV2)
How would we have reacted if we had been one of the inhabitants of Jerusalem at that time? This commander had done a superb job for his king, bringing doubt to all these inhabitants of Jerusalem. After all, we always tend to vouch for life and not for destruction! He was trying to recruit them with his impeccable logic. He even vouched he was consulting with God and that God was telling him to destroy Jerusalem. Notice though, that in his speech, he gave certain facts that were true, but some of his facts were made up and were lies! Anything said that contains even 1 % of a lie, is a lie. This is how the evil one seduced human kind in Eden.
This commander ends his speech with a punch: “How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” (2Kgs 18:35, NIV2)
Pride had invaded the heart of Sennacherib, King of Assyria, with this ultimatum, and all seemed lost for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. However, let’s not forget that our Father specializes in ultimatums, no matter how desperate these are. Sennacherib will find out that God is unlike any of these fake, defeated gods!
Amazingly, wisdom comes forth: “But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, ‘Do not answer him.'” (2Kgs 18:36, NIV2)
How did Hezekiah, the King of Jerusalem, react to this? With humility, “He tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the LORD.” (2Kgs 19:1, NIV2) His first reaction was not to gather his generals and plan what to do next. No, King Hezekiah consulted with God first! After all, consulting with our Father should always be our first course of action. We can’t go wrong when we do so! Life will be forthcoming!
The king received this message from the Lord via his prophet Isaiah: “Do not be afraid of what you have heard–those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.” (2Kgs 19:6, 7, NIV2)
How could this be? The Assyrian commander brought a message of doom and death, and God tells them not to be afraid! Who would you trust, especially since the commander of Assyria continued to discourage the people of Jerusalem. This is just like what the evil one would do. The devil never gives up, nor do his minions.
Again King Hezekiah went into the temple “And spread it out before the LORD.” (2Kgs 19:14, NIV2) God was his strength!
He ends up his prayer with “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.” (2Kgs 19:19, NIV2) He didn’t pray for self-glory. He had God’s interests at heart, the One who always brings forth life!
Our Father always hears our prayers spoken in earnest to glorify His name, and now the prophesy given to Isaiah will be fulfilled in front of all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. That ferocious, menacing force at the gates of Jerusalem will be dealt with, not by human hands but by God Himself!
“That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning-there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.” (2Kgs 19:35-37, NIV2)
If you had bet upon King Sennacherib, you would have lost. Even though he had a reputable, undefeated, fierce army, he was no match to our Father. It is the same with any of our less-that-favorable circumstances.
Who speaks the truth? Not our circumstances and especially not the evil one or any of his minions (See John 8:44). Let us remember that half-truths are nothing more than lies. God’s truth is always true. We can trust Him completely, even if our circumstances are more than grim.
Who brings forth life? Only our Father and all those who are following Him! The evil one would rather see us completely destroyed! (See John 10:10)
We face choices every day of our lives. We either worry and panic, or we stand still, trusting whole-heartedly that our Father will come through for us. He sure will!!! In Him we can grow, experience fully His life within us, and experience total victory. No reason to cower! He will see us through! After all, He is the One that makes real life possible!
Life or death, the choice is given to any of us. What will you choose?
(To access the entire “Facing Unimaginable Odds” devotional series, please click here.)