Taking Every Thought Captive

Today I have a special treat for you! My husband is my guest blogger. While Randy is usually writing about woodworking, today we get to hear from him about the Scriptures. I know you’ll be blessed!

There’s a storyline in the Old Testament that has as much relevance today as it did as an historical milestone for God’s people in Judah around 700BC. You can read about it here:

It’s a story about Hezekiah, who became King of Judah. He followed a long line of kings who abandoned their faith in the God who had redeemed them. God was so fed up with His people’s constant and consistent disobedience throughout the generations that He scattered them.

Hezekiah was a refreshing change. He honored the Lord and tried to restore the kingdom’s reliance upon God, their creator. The Bible says, “He remained faithful to the Lord and did not turn from following him but kept the commands the Lord had commanded Moses.” Fourteen years into his reign (Hezekiah was 39 years old), the King of Assyria (Sennacherib) initiated a campaign to attack all of the fortified cities of Judah. He then sent a massive army and a spokesman to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. Hezekiah sent three high-ranking officials to meet with the spokesman, including a court secretary and a court historian.

The King of Assyria, through his spokesman, began his verbal attacks. He questioned Hezekiah’s loyalty. He questioned his faith. He mocked the Lord God. As a matter of fact, the Assyrian King claimed to have a command from the Lord to “attack this land and destroy it.”

The spokesman turned his attack to those within earshot, against the wishes of King Hezekiah’s spokesmen. He was trying to start a riot–a revolt. He told them, “Don’t listen to Hezekiah.” He asked the people to surrender and promised that he would take them to a land of grain, new wine, olive trees, and honey–so that they may live, and not die.

The spokesmen returned to Hezekiah with their report. He became distraught and immediately went into the Lord’s temple. He said, “Today is a day of distress, rebuke, and disgrace.” They were helpless. They sought out the prophet Isaiah who relayed this message from the Lord: “Don’t be afraid because of the words you have heard.”

While Hezekiah was distressing over the situation, the King of Assyria sent another message. “Don’t let your God, on whom you rely, deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be handed over to the King of Assyria…will you be rescued? Did the gods of the nations that my predecessors destroyed rescue them? Where are the kings of these nations now (paraphrased)?”

Here’s the interesting part–Hezekiah took this written message from the King of Assyria, went to the temple, and spread it out before the Lord. I can picture it, can you?

Then he prayed. He praised God for who He is and what He has done. Then he asked God to listen and hear and to open His eyes and see. He finished by asking God to save them “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are God–you alone.”

It wasn’t a selfish request. Hezekiah wanted it to be known throughout the lands that he serves the one true God. He wanted it to be a testimony and a witness to God’s grace and mercy.

There is so much more to the story. I encourage you to take the time to sit and read it.

What thoughts have been going through your head lately? What have you been hearing? Are you hearing a parent say, “You’re never going to amount to anything?” Are you telling yourself that you’re not much good to anyone? Are you afraid of stepping out in faith and doing what God has called you do to…to be who He called you to be? Are you trying to solve your problems on your own? Are you desperately seeking quick fixes to your problems, frantically looking for relief? Are you questioning your faith right now? Are you questioning whether God even exists and if He does, does He really care about you? Are you looking at a hopeless situation with no relief in sight? Are you seeing the consequences of bad habits but don’t know how to break them?

The lesson we learn from Hezekiah is prayer. Earnest prayer. But it has to be coupled with a recognition of who God really is–our Creator, our Savior, our Redeemer. The Old Testament is really a story of Jesus. He was there then and He is here now. He, like Hezekiah, intercedes on our behalf to God the Father. Seek Him. Spend time with Him. Every day. Read and study His word. It’s full of stories of how God can conquer our enemies, the thoughts that keep us from fulfilling His purpose for our lives, “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are God–you alone.”

But look, the Lord keeps his eye on
those who fear him —
those who depend on his faithful love
to rescue them from death
and to keep them alive in famine.
We wait for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
For our hearts rejoice in him
because we trust in his holy name.
May your faithful love rest on us, Lord,
for we put our hope in you.

–Psalm 33:19-22 CSB

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and rescued me from all my fears.

–Psalm 34:4