“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel:
“Because you have prayed to me…
I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” “
Isaiah 37:21 & 37
Names carry meaning and often power. Thus, the reason people “name drop”. Historically, names were given with much thought and often carried on a legacy. When the Bible was written, the ancient world was very much about the name being linked to a family and or a meaning…a calling. In the Bible, Hebrew names meant something. Jesus fulfilled the name he was given: “Yehoshua”, or “Yeshua”…“savior” in Hebrew. This was the name given by the angel of the Lord to Mary. You can’t be in charge of your name; it is given to you before or at your birth. What you are in charge of is what your name will come to mean to those around you. When people hear your name, what do they think of?
In the 5th century a mighty Assyrian king named Senacherib taunted Israel’s king, Hezekiah, and the people of Judah. Hezehiah’s name means “strength of God” in Hebrew. This amazing story of faith is found in 2 Kings 18 and 19. Isaiah recounts it in Isaiah 36:15 as Senacherib taunts Judah’s trembling people: “Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us.” Senacherib’s name alone struck fear into people; it was synonymous with earthly might and power. His army not only outnumbered Hezekiah’s, but they had many chariots-”modern” killing machines that rolled over their victims and ensured crushing victory. Hezekiah trusted in the God of Israel and he obeyed the commandments. When he took office, he faitfhfully tore down the altars made to idols and led the people to worship the one true God. He believed God was His defender and his victory. In the face of his daunting, taunting enemy, Hezekiah prayed. God heard him and answered in a miraculous way. God said then, as he still says to His people today, “Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard”, Isaiah 37:5. And God took care of those Assyrians allright, they never even got to fight…the angel of the Lord did something incredible during the night! After this, the rest decided to turn around and go home only to …well, let’s just say, you’ve got to read this story! The point: in the face of incredible odds against them, Israel was saved.
Let’s fast forward a few thousand years…it is September 2012: Iran is fast developing a nuclear bomb and its leader, Achmadinajab, is coming to the U.S. to speak at the U.N.. WordPress.com records that “On Sunday upon arriving in New York City, in fact, Ahmadinejad wasted no time in announcing that Israel must be “eliminated” from the earth.” When he did get to the podium, he announced boldy to the entire U.N. that a new era is about to be ushered in; America’s time as a superpower is coming to an end. He hinted that the Muslim messiah, the 12th Imam, is coming soon and this “Mahdi” along with Jesus Christ will rule. Once again an “assyrian” ruler is taunting Israel…and the world. Once again, “modern” death machines are threatening to destroy God’s people. Once again, Israel is literally surrounded by countries that will not come to its aid. There she sits, surrounded and vulnerable- an enemy taunting her.
The current Prime Minister of Israel is Benjamin Netanjahu;his first name means “son of God” and his last name translates “Gift of God”. Speaking a few days after Iran’s leader, he states “Three thousand years ago, King David reigned over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem. I say that to all those who proclaim that the Jewish state has no roots in our region and that it will soon disappear.” and “In Israel, we walk the same paths tread by our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. He gets the odds that Israel has overcome historically. Does he give the credit to God? Well, even though his words were “the Jewish state”, I think he knows the truth. In case he’s having trouble, an extraordinary event may just be helping to encourage him.
In a recent excavation along the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a signet ring was found dating back to the 5th century-the time of Hezekiah. The ring bore the inscription “Netanyahu”. The Israeli Antiquities Authority was so moved, they gave this signet ring to the current Prime Minister, Netanyahu. For such a time as this. The ring sits on his desk. Is the God of Israel saying again “Do not be afraid…I am with you.”? I’m thinking yes. As we pray for ourselves and our country in this pre-election season, let us also pray for God’s eternal kingdom on earth, the land of Israel. We will be praying Hezekiah’s very prayer from 2 Kings 19:15-19.
Prayer: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, to us today as you did to Hezekiah many years ago. O Lord, watch over our nation , see and hear the words of Achmadinajab as you heard the words of Senacherib, which he has said to mock You, the living God. Truly, O Lord, the leader of Iran has plans to lay waste the nation of Israel and our United States. His god is not You,God, but the creation of man, Muhammed, a man who had a dream that he was god. So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from the hand of evil. We pray that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone. “ And may the future president of our United States know it, And may my life show it. My my name evoke attention to You. In Jesus’ ever powerful name, amen.
“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: