Our church is using this verse as our theme for 2016. It is our emphasis. It is our goal that through preaching and teaching this year we emphasize the importance of prayer in every aspect of our lives. This blog post if based on the second message in our series. The title of this message, “Pray In Times of Crisis”, was a help to many people. I praise God for his clarity given in His word for us.
There is a powerful example of praying in the time of crisis in the Old Testament. II Kings 17 – 19 gives us the story of Hezekiah. It teaches us that Hezekiah was a king who loved God and sought to obey him. The passage teaches us that Hezekiah tore down the high places. In fact, chapter 18 even teaches us that he even destroyed the brass serpent Moses made in the wilderness because people were worshipping it. This is an important point for us to consider. The story about the brass serpent comes from Numbers 21. Many were saved because they believed the word of God and looked to the serpent for their salvation. John 3 teaches us that just as they looked in the wilderness to that serpent, so too must we look up to Jesus who was lifted up for our salvation today. It is an powerful and excellent imagery. Yet, in II Kings we find that the people were worshipping the image, rather than the God of the image. This sounds a lot like us today. We will worship everything under the sun except for the creator of that sun. Hezekiah had a great solution to this problem: Destroy the relic. Can you imagine the outrage? How could you do that? Moses made that! You don’t care about our history! You are trying to erase history and make yourself more important! You are so arrogant! None of that is in the text, but I can only imagine the hearts and minds of these people who were worshipping the image. Hezekiah saw it correct and right: They were worshipping what had become an idol. It was not made to be an idol, they made it into one in their hearts and minds.
Was Hezekiah correct in destroying the artifact? I would say 1,000 times yes! If something is coming between ourselves and our worship of God, it needs to be purged. It must be destroyed completely. Hezekiah wanted God’s chosen people to come back to Him. He did not want any distractions. So, he did the only logical thing and destroyed the artifact.
What good thing needs purging in your life? What tradition has become more like an idol in your life? What idea or concept has become more of a god than it is supposed to be in your life? I plead with you, don’t allow good things to take the place of God in your life. Take the time to inventory your life. Make sure the things that are good are in the proper place. What about your ministry? It is a good thing! But has it taken the place of your relationship with God? Has it taken the place of your family? If so, it is now an idol. I am not suggesting you “destroy” your ministry. What I am saying is you may need some people who are willing to tell you the truth about you and your perspective. You might need to take a step back from that ministry. You might need to give that ministry back to the Lord and allow him to control it rather than the ministry to control you.
Don’t allow good things to become idols. Pray continually that God will be first in your life. Pray that God will control you and the direction of any ministry that you have the privilege of serving.
Hezekiah had it right, he got rid of any temptation that would cause the people to stray. What is causing you to keep your eyes of God?
This is the first part of the message “Pray In Times of Crisis”.