194. Do you trust Me?

I was so certain I have used this title before; searching my computer and looking for the familiar words that ring true in my heart.  I was very surprised when I could not find them.  I have found references to trust and I know I have written on it before, but I haven’t used it as a title to a piece.  You might ask why I am so surprised.  I “hear” the words in my inner being as words of God spoken to me in reproach when I succumb and let fear enter my thoughts.  It is like an echo, a trumpet-like sound in my soul.  It is powerful words for weak moments.

We have discussed God’s questions in previous Pebbles.  When God asks questions, He is not looking for information.  More often than not, He asks questions to initiate conversation. Do you trust Me?  is a phrase to pluck you out of doubt, plant you in God’s embrace and lift you up out of crisis to hear his voice.  When God asks this question, your whole being should be on full alert and fine-tuned to receive liberty and restoration.  There is nothing in the life of a believer that can so effectively interrupt negative thought patterns and sinful conduct than God’s rhetoric questions, provided we are within “hearing distance”.

There in the Garden of Eden He asks four quick questions.

 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” (Genesis 3:9,11,13)

Do you think for a moment God did not know what happened in the Garden that day?  I am asking a question to which we all know the answer.  It is a question that underlines the impossibility of a negative answer.  It is unthinkable that God would not know and still He asked questions to which the man and the woman gave their hesitant, guilty answers.  It is the darkest moment in the history of mankind.  It will be restored by another very dark moment many centuries later when the sky turned black in broad daylight announced that God himself paid the price for sin as Jesus died on a Roman Cross.  Questions and answers become a conversation of restoration.  Every word is full of power and purpose.  His word will not return to him void.

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. 
(Isaiah 55:10,11)

None of us has ever seen a raindrop or snowflake fall down and then turn and go up before it hits the earth.  We will all be spooked stiff if something like that might happen.  It is a law of nature. We know it well.  It is called gravity.  Do you watch the rain to make sure it hits the earth?  Of course not!  It would be foolish to doubt the certainty of the natural behaviour of rain.  Let the teaspoon fall.  If you do not hear the expected jangle on the floor, you would immediately suspect magic or ghosts.  Gravity works every time.  Do you doubt it?  Do you doubt the behaviour of rain?

As certain as the law of gravity and the progression of the seasons, is the truth of the Word of God that brings restoration and encouragement.  It is the guarantee of God’s love that is the content of our future.  We can fully rely on it.  We can stake our lives on it.

When God had asked the questions, He judged.  He does not judge Adam, who blamed and made excuses, or Eve who listened to the gossip against God and shifted the blame to the serpent.  God judges the serpent, the source of evil and announces his Plan of Salvation with the promise of Jesus.

So the Lord God said to the serpent:

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
  (Genesis 3:14,15)

I get very uncomfortable with the statement that prayer does not “work”.  Well, if you use it like a magic wand, maybe you do not say the right words or flip the pointer in the right direction.  It is ridiculous.  

Prayer is a conversation.  Prayer is the groaning of the heart to the God of the universe who is more ready to answer prayer than we are to pray.  God starts the conversation today with these words:  Do you trust Me?

You answer is super important.

But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction;
Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days;
But I will trust in You.
  (Psalms 55:24)

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.

I will cry out to God Most High, 
To God who performs all things for me
.  (Psalms 57:1,2)

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
  (Psalms 143:8)

Let us then declare like Joshua when all the others around us choose their gods.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

It is right here where I would like to stop in the name of writing shorter pieces, but I cannot.  The subject is vast and rich – so much more than any words of mine. 

Read with me 2 Kings 18 and 19.  Count for yourself how many times the word trust appears.

Hezekiah, the king of the southern kingdom Judah, began his reign very well.  He fought the Philistines and cleansed the land of pagan influence.  After all the success, the king of Assyria invades the northern kingdom and set up a blockade around the capital, Samaria.  After a long and cruel siege, the citizens of the northern kingdom are taken in exile, never to return.  According to all the prophecies (18:12) of especially Amos, this happens as a result of disobedience to the Lord.

Six years later, Assyria has a new and ambitious emperor, Sennacherib.  He wages war against Judah and conquers many of the fortified cities in the southern kingdom.  To avoid the defeat of Jerusalem, Hezekiah offers to pay tribute to Sennacherib.  In order to fulfill the demands of the Assyrian, Hezekiah had to assemble a massive amount of gold and silver, so much that he had to strip the gold off the doorposts of the Temple.

Evil ambition is never satisfied.  After the payment, Sennacherib sends his army commanders with a great legion to stand at the aqueduct of the fountain that provides Jerusalem with water and threaten the city.  Boastfully and full of audacity, they ask: What confidence is this in which you trust?

Read the rest of his disturbing speech in 2 Kings 18:19-25, 28-35.  Sennacherib’s spokesperson delivers a long discourse on the weakness of Jerusalem, the fatality and false sense of power of trust in the God of Hezekiah and compares God to the gods of the surrounding nations who could not withstand the power of Sennacherib – blasphemous words against Judah’s God.

Hezekiah’s people did not answer, according to the firm command of the King.  This is significant.  Words against God are sometimes so overwhelmingly false and hurtful to those whose allegiance stands firm with our Lord, that no answer will ever satisfy the speaker or the hearer.  Words are not wasted.  The Judean officials retreat to inform Hezekiah.

Hezekiah’s response is written in 2 Kings 19.  He dresses himself in sackcloth (signifying mourning) and enters the Temple.  He sends messengers to the prophet Isaiah to consult God in the matter.  Isaiah hears from the messengers, the words of reproach against God and Hezekiah’s request to Isaiah to pray for the remnant of Judah.

And Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” ’ ”(19:6,7)

Then Sennacherib wrote a letter to Hezekiah, again attacking his trust in God and boasting of his overwhelming successes in battle.  

Hezekiah took the letter and spread it out before God in the Temple proclaiming the superiority and authority of the only living God that cannot compare to gods made by human hands : 

“O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 17 Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, 18 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. 19 Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.” (19:15-19)

Hezekiah faces the facts.  He does not deny the vast successes of Sennacherib.  He declares God’s supremacy over all the other gods made of wood and stone.  He states his TRUST in a simple one-liner.

God answers through the prophet Isaiah.  Hear his words today and cover your enemies with these words.  

God asks questions … and answers himself.

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.’ (19:20)

‘Whom have you reproached and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice,
And lifted up your eyes on high?
Against the Holy One of Israel.
 (19:22)

‘Did you not hear long ago
How I made it,
From ancient times that I formed it?
Now I have brought it to pass,
That you should be
For crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins.
 (19:25) 

[Sennacherib was created and used for God’s purposes]

‘But I know your dwelling place,
Your going out and your coming in,
[God is all-knowing, also fully aware of evil and its plans]

And your rage against Me. [not against Judah]

28 Because your rage against Me and your tumult
Have come up to My ears,
Therefore I will put My hook in your nose
And My bridle in your lips,
And I will turn you back
By the way which you came
.
 (19:27,28)

And Hezekiah?  God blesses him with abundance – just because he prayed and called out to God in his crisis and even after he “sinned” in paying the tributes.

This shall be a sign to you:

You shall eat this year such as grows of itself,
And in the second year what springs from the same
;
Also in the third year sow and reap,
Plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them.
And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah
Shall again take root downward,
And bear fruit upward
(19:29,30)

This is the promise to the remnant – planted, rooted and fruit-bearing.

God intervenes supernaturally because of his own reputation and the faith legacy of David, his servant.  The result is spectacular and breathtaking.

And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. (19:35)

So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh(19:36)

I hope these words make you giggle with delight.  A big-mouth evil empire is kicked like a street dog and sneaks back to his city, tail between his legs where he gets murdered and replaced.

Do you trust Me? asks our Father.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength
. (Isaiah 26:3,4)

https://youtu.be/vXMPNXXnCls   I trust in you. Lauren Daigle

https://youtu.be/ElVC6rfX3Z8    You are my hiding place. Selah

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