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With occasional oases of hope, the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah are a desert of divine judgment. But then, beginning with Isaiah 40, the tone changes. Though the Lord is still a God of justice and judgment, emphasis is placed on restoration and renewal.
Hezekiah was manipulated by flattery and fell prey to pride. Like any other human being, he had his weaknesses, and these were costly, not only to him, but also to his people. Our leadership whether in our jobs or families, whether in our churches or communities, can also be compromised by our weaknesses.
This story portrays vividly the power and puzzle of prayer. God healed Hezekiah, doing that which required supernatural power, in response to Hezekiah’s supplication. This is the power of prayer. The puzzle comes from the fact that God seemed to change his mind in response to Hezekiah’s prayer.
I would however like to offer a different perspective on the main goal of marketplace ministry. Could it be that God’s plan is to simply provide irrefutable evidence in the most public spaces of his Sovereignty, which would give every person and system the ability to clearly choose or reject his Lordship?
Psalm 78 focuses mainly on the sad history of Israel’s persistent rebellion against the Lord. Though he showed them mercy time and again, and though he disciplined them for their disobedience, the children of Israel regularly turned away from God and failed to keep his covenant.
The challenges of our lives may not be quite as dire as those of Hezekiah, but we all face apparently invincible problems in our lives. There are times when these challenges – at work, at home, in our relationships, in our own hearts – seem overwhelming. In such circumstances, we are certainly free to pour out our fears and needs to the Lord. Yet, sometimes we need to do more than ask for God’s help.
We are inspired and empowered to live today by our vision of God’s future. We pray to the Father as Jesus taught us, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And we allow this prayer to shape our lives wherever we are: in our offices and stores, in our studios and conference rooms, in our churches and cities, in our homes and schools.
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