We often compare our lives to that of other Christians and even worse, non-Christians. We are conditioned to make judgments based on the happenings around us and resign ourselves to the same fate. It took my colleagues 2 years to get promoted at work therefore it would be 2 years before I get promoted at work. We believe that a deviation from the status quo is unrealistic and unlikely.
What we fail to realize is that the church (the body of Christ comprised of all believing Christians) by nature is very different from the world. The word ‘church’ is first introduced by Jesus in Matthew 16:18 and comes from the Greek word Ekklesia (don’t run away now) which means a called out group into some form of public assembly, council or senate. The point is you are already different just by being a Christian. You have been called out therefore you cannot benchmark your life against those who aren’t Christians. The difference must be like night and day.
It is all over scriptures that God loves to make a distinction between His people and others. We see it as far back as Noah, Abraham, Egypt and the Exodus, all the way through to Revelations.
11 You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? – Isaiah 37:11 (NLT)
At this point in Israel’s history, Israel had broken up into two kingdoms; the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. Judah is now under siege by Sennacherib the King of Assyria who had conquered the surrounding nations and was now set on sacking Jerusalem, the capital of Judah. As his troops camped outside the walls of Jerusalem, he sent messages to Hezekiah the king of Judah breathing threats and demanding his surrender. In his threats, he methodically lays out the antecedents of the kings he had conquered and to paint a very real picture for Hezekiah, he gives actual names of these kings. Indeed, he had an impressive track record. This was an ominous situation and facts did not suggest anything but ruination for Jerusalem and Hezekiah.
Sennacherib’s logic was that all nations which had been defeated had gods of their own who were unable to deliver them from his power. Faith is not a denial of facts as most Christians believe. It is a conviction of the revealed truth that stirs one to action despite stacked odds. What then makes Hezekiah think that Jerusalem’s narrative will be different? Why should you be any different?
This is a question we must answer with conviction if we are to live the victorious life of a Christian. We would surely face dire situations and without the proper understanding, we will conform to the status quo and expect to be defeated by the terror of the moment like everybody else. I came to the point of conviction some years ago that my life cannot be indistinguishable from an unbeliever. It just cannot. I have said it for years and the guys who came up under me would bear witness. I cannot be defeated by the same issues and I will explain why you must be different as well?
Interestingly, Hezekiah cannot answer the question but I am glad God gave him the answer when He prayed intensely (I absolutely love his prayer in Isaiah 37:14-20) for help with the impending sack of Jerusalem.
“And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the Lord. ‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’” – Isaiah 37:33-35 (NLT)
Jerusalem’s case would be different because of God’s honor and His covenant. These are two simple yet potent reasons God gives Hezekiah as why He would defend the city.
It is important to know that God has a stake in your life and a reproach on you is a reproach on Him. You are branded by His name therefore whatever touches you touches Him. These were God’s own words; if the King of Assyria takes this city, it is a dishonor to My name. If the fate that befalls everyone else befalls Christians, it is a dishonor to His name. Knowing this is a great relief and gives me confidence that God shares in the risk therefore He is sufficiently motivated to avert it. God is a major stakeholder in your life just as He was in the battle of David against Goliath.
Secondly, God cannot forget His covenant. Once He has covenanted to do something, it is a done deal. Judah was under covenant and Hezekiah as the king had walked right before God by fulfilling the requirements of the covenant therefore God is bound to deliver him.
My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: – Psalm 89:34-35
God cannot lie. You and I are also under the new covenant. Indeed we are under a better covenant than the one Judah had. We are new covenant people and must engage as such.
When faced with circumstances that seem to intimidate you, remember that God’s honor is at stake and He is bound by covenant to sort you out. That is the answer to the threatening question, ‘Why should your case be different?’ Not sure what constitutes a ‘Sennacherib’ and is threatening you but do tell the situation that you will not be defeated because of the honor of God’s name and because of the covenant under which you operate. I am sure you would be encouraged to know that God sent an angel who killed 185,000 of Sennacherib’s men in one night. The men of Judah did not lift a finger. The Lord fought for them and they held their peace. What comfort knowing that the Almighty God has a stake in your life and His honor is on the line when you come against opposition. Shalom.