[The Lord speaking to Paul in a vision] "For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you..."
Thoughts for Today:The year was 734BC when Ahaz, the King of Judah, was about to be attacked by an alliance between Rezin, King of Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel. In Isaiah 7: 3-9, The Lord told Isaiah to reassure Ahaz, "Say to Him, 'Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid...' This is what the Sovereign Lord says: 'It will not take place, it will not happen...'" [Continuing on in verse 9] '"...If you do not stand firm in your faith you will not stand at all.'" In other words, "What you fear will not happen, so you better get your emotions under control. But be careful, because how you manage your faith from this point forward will ultimately determine your fate, not this particular battle or war." We would all be well served to follow this counsel.
We don't have time to discuss the full history of King Ahaz (see 2 Chronicles 28:1-27), however the point I want to make from his negative example is contained in Isaiah 7:9, '"...If you do not stand firm in your faith you will not stand at all.'" When faced with difficult circumstances we can be like King Ahaz and crumble, be unstable, emotional, and seek the help and advice of others; or we can choose to be like Paul from our passage today who would stand his ground, finding confidence, certainty and security in the Lord's presence and promise(s). King Ahaz was so evil and poorly thought of that he was not even buried in the tombs with the other kings of Israel. Paul on the other hand stayed for a year and a half, being firmly fully established in his faith and the Lord's promise ("For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you..."). Which will you choose?
Questions to Ponder:While King Ahaz did not stand firm in his faith, the Lord was faithful and his kingdom was preserved for his son Hezekiah (who would later lead a revival and return to the ways of the Lord). The promise(s) and presence of God should give us the confidence, certainty and security to stand our ground in the face of adversity, as the words to the old Christian hymn "The Solid Rock," penned in 1836 by Edward Mote reflect:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus' Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
On what ground are you standing right now? Are your feet planted on "The Solid Rock" of Jesus, or do you reach for other solutions when you are faced with problems? What needs to change?