Thursday, October 9, 2014

Priceless Encouragement

The swarm of people seemed to multiply before him. Their voices rose in crescendo, and one thing was very clear to Hezekiah.

They were terrified.

Not that he could blame them. The king of Assyria had made it his personal agenda to destroy them. Hezekiah had been preparing and building up the army, but was that enough? He honestly didn't know. Next to the Assyrian army, it was very easy to feel like the fly next to the lioness.

He shook his head. No. I need to stop thinking like that, and I need to do it now! 

Hezekiah solemnly looked out at the panicky people before him. They were waiting for his leadership.

He motioned to his commanders, and several trumpets were blown. Slowly, the people quieted down and looked at him expectantly.

Hezekiah took a deep breath. He could do this. He had to do this. His people, God's people, needed this.

Hezekiah opened his mouth, and words of encouragement just spilled out to the people. "Be strong and courageous. Don't be afraid or dismayed because of the king of Assyria and the horde that is with him. There is more with us, than there is with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God. He will help us and fight our battle!"

Based on 2 Chronicles 32:6-8

What I like about this part of Hezekiah's story is that when they were faced with peril and attack, he encouraged his people. He didn't sulk or whine or give up. He didn't freak out or doubt God. He prepared for battle, made weapons, organized the army, and told the people not to fear.

Hezekiah knew that the people were watching him and waiting for him to lead them. They needed him to be strong. They needed to be encouraged.

There are times when we need to be encouraged, and there are times when we need to encourage others.

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." Proverbs 12:25

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11

We need to build up, strengthen, and encourage one another. We are all going through trials and tribulation. What we long for is someone else to see that and offer us support.

When someone encourages you at work, don't you feel a million times better? I know I do! I may be having a bad day, a hard week, or a difficult year, but to be encouraged and complimented is priceless.

We need that kind of encouragement in all the areas of our life.

Hezekiah told the people of Judah not to be afraid, but to be strong and courageous. He said that the enemy's horde was nothing compared to the army standing with them - the army of God. Hezekiah reminded them that the Assyrian army was merely flesh and blood; they had God Who would help them fight their battles.

Guys, encourage each other this week. When you see someone struggling under the weight of life, remind them that God will carry their load. When you see someone hurting from their shattered past, remind them that God specializes in giving beauty for ashes. Guys, when your day starts to cave in on you, remember this post and be encouraged.

Because that's what we are here for.

V. Joy Palmer

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