Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pray & Obey


Isaiah 37:3  And they said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah: ’This day is a day of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth.”

Psalms 46
        Martin Luther’s (1483 – 1546) favorite “go to” Psalm in times of trouble and attack. It is from the inspiration of this Psalm, many believe, that he wrote the hymn, “Ein heste Burg ist unser Gott”, translated into English in the mid 1800’s to “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” – in 1529.

Martin Luther, the father of protestant reformation, was 34 when he posted his 95 Theses against the Power and Abuses of Indulgences to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Later in life, as do many maturing saints and sinners alike, he adjusted his earlier thoughts somewhat to reflect a better and more well defined understanding.

Luther changed and refined some of his earlier thoughts somewhat on the ideas of faith and works, revolution, reformation and rebellion, anti-Semitism, life after death, Gnosticism, polygamy and Church structure. However, one thing Luther never seemed to change his mind about or felt need to redefine was his staunch and early belief that Christians do not have to tear down one thing in order to establish another. He believed and strongly taught that Christians should use prayer and the adherence to the Word of God to bring about needed change in themselves and others, including Churches, Governments, enemies and friends.

Perhaps this is one reason he often turned to this Psalm and read or lead others to recite it in prose or in song. Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran Denomination of Churches, was excommunicated from the Catholic Church, was sentenced by the courts as one who could be killed in the streets by anyone who wished without fear of reprisal; his books were banned and he lived for a period in hiding expecting at any point to be murdered by Christians, Jews, Turks or pagans whom he had insulted. Luther is not the model we look to when we want to be like Jesus however, he did know where to go when things in life got tough.

Psalms 46
1  God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
2  Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3  Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4  There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the
5  God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 ¶  The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7  The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8  Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth.
9  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.
10  Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
11  The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Let go and let God be God.

Your victory is not in your enemy’s defeat.

Sometimes it’s time to just be still and know that He is God!

What are you struggling with today? Are there pressures surrounding you or problems from your past hunting you and haunting you? What fears do you face for your future?

Can I simply encourage you to take the advice of this Psalmist and of many others who have gone on before you and turn your life over to:
1.   Prayer
2.   Obedience to the Word of God

In other words, Pray and Obey

Additional Notes:

It is believed that Psalms 46 may have been written as a result of the accounts recorded in Isaiah 36 and 37. Perhaps this is true, we cannot know, but we can nonetheless see that the principles do compare.

Isaiah 36
7  "But if you say to me, ’We trust in the LORD our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ’You shall worship before this altar’?"’

  High Places and Altars – a complete misunderstanding of Hezekiah’s intent and acts of tearing down and destroying those places of worship erected and allowed by his forefathers to which worship of false gods and false worship of the True God had been offered. Perhaps as well the lack of spiritual insight to know how God had approved of Hezekiah’s destruction of the brass serpent which had been lifted up by Moses in the wilderness to heal because it had in recent times become a false god in itself and was worshipped.

  (And said to Judah and Jerusalem He had commanded them to worship only in Jerusalem, at the temple. This was in strict accordance with the law of Moses; but this seems to have been understood by Sennacherib as in fact almost or quite banishing the worship of Yahweh from the land. Probably this was said to alienate the minds of the people from Hezekiah, by showing them that he had taken away their rights and privileges of worshipping God where they chose.) (Barnes)

Isaiah 36:10  "Have I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, ’Go up against this land, and destroy it.’"

Isaiah 36:21  But they held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, "Do not answer him."

We cannot get caught up in a war of words with those enemies of the will of our King.

Rather – go to the house of God and pray …

Isaiah 37

4  ’It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’"

6  And Isaiah said to them, "Thus shall you 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.

14  And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.

21 ¶  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,

30  "This shall be a sign to you: You shall eat this year such as grows of itself, And the second year what springs from the same; Also in the third year sow and reap, Plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them.
31  And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah Shall again take root downward, And bear fruit upward.
32  For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, And those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

33  "Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: ’He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it.