Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today
NL Daily Devotion for Sunday, November 18, 2018
by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff
Main Idea: God’s presence can be made known to the world like a fire on a mountaintop.
Assyria was a formidable force. It had already defeated Hamath, Arpad, and Sepharvaim, along with many other neighboring countries. Now, it was on Israel’s doorstep, ready to take her down, too. Assyria’s king mocked God, claiming the God of Israel could no more save Israel than the other countries’ gods could save them. Israel’s king, Hezekiah, feared for Israel’s safety and sent word to the prophet, Isaiah, asking him to plead to God for their lives.
Isaiah knew God would deliver them. But Isaiah also knew it would not happen before they were defeated and exiled, and then one day they would be restored to their land, their homes, and their families. The tools of war would become tools of harvest, and they would live in peace once again. People would rejoice on God’s mountain, walking in God’s ways.
There’s a scene in the Disney movie, Mulan, where the Hun leader, Shan Yu breaches the Great Wall of China. The guard on watch lit a warning fire that signaled another guard on a tower far away. That guard lit his warning fire, signaling an even further guard, and so on. In a matter of moments, a warning reached the palace; on foot the same warning could have taken days. Because of the height and the light, the message was proclaimed loud and clear for all to see.
Isaiah promised one day the people would once again return to the Lord’s mountain to worship and praise God. From the high vantage point, their praise would be loud and clear for all to see.
We might not worship on mountains as often anymore, and our communication is more technological. But we do have opportunities for our worship and praise to reach people all over the world. Consider today how your social media presence uplifts or denies the presence of God in your life. What will you shout from your mountaintop?
Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:
Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. The king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. He stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. And there came out to him Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.
Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, ‘Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: “Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: “Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. Do not let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, The Lord will save us. Has any of the gods of the nations saved their land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?Who among all the gods of these countries have saved their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should save Jerusalem out of my hand?” ’
Hezekiah Consults Isaiah
When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the Lord your God heard the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’
When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, ‘Say to your master, “Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” ’