Today's devotion from 2 Kings 18.
With Israel swept away by the Assyrians, one knew that it would only be a matter of time before they returned for Judah. However, there is a major difference between the two kingdoms: Hezekiah reigns in Judah. Unlike so many before him, he gets it. He desires to follow God. He trusts in Him. He even went so far as to remove the high places previously overlooked. In fact, he wasn't afraid to destroy the golden serpent raised up in the wilderness by Moses when it became an idol.
Knowing what we know from Scripture, none of us should be surprised, then, when Hezekiah's faith actually becomes the point of attack for the enemy. When the Assyrian captains come to invite surrender, they ridicule his obedience to God and faithful leadership. They seek to undermine his direction by appealing to the people directly. However, they have made a fatal mistake. They have assumed that all gods are equal. They arrogantly tout their previous victories over other peoples who trusted in their gods. They have failed to realize that Yahweh is not a god, but The True God of Creation.
You would expect to read words like these in a devotion based on Christian Scriptures. It is easy for us to have faith when it's untested and lacks a sense of urgency. It's easy to sit in our comfortable homes and disconnectedly read about life or death struggles in which faith plays a key part. But what of the faith itself? You may never have to face a foreign invader belittling your faith in the way Hezekiah did. But what about when your worldview is shaken to its core? Do you have the faith to withstand a layoff notice, or the revelation of an affair, or a cancer diagnosis?
Faith in the trenches is where we identify real faith. It was easy for Hezekiah to have faith when the kingdom was at peace and the Assyrians were no where to be seen. How will he respond with the enemy at his gate? Does he really have faith in God, or was that just lip service? What about us? Can we worship in the midst of the storm? Can we trust in middle of the battle? Who among all the gods of arrogance, pride, self-reliance, and independence can provide peace in the chaos? None. There is only One, the Lord God, who is worthy of our hope, faith, and fealty.