We approached the place to dismount, unnerved because this was our first ride on a ski lift. We pushed ourselves off. My skis skittered a little, but I stayed upright. But – my wife began to fall, and she tried to catch herself by latching onto wobbly old me.
We ended up in a pile, looking like a weird appetizer with 4 toothpicks popping out. Of course, they stopped the ski lift and every rider gawked to see what happened. Where to hide?
Even more embarrassing – she did it to me two more times that trip.
When you grab onto the wrong person – these kinds of things happen. Take King Hezekiah, for instance.
His kingdom was in big trouble. The borders had been breached by the brutal Assyrian army. They had obliterated every defense in Judah until they came to Jerusalem.
Once the capital was surrounded, an Assyrian spokesman by the name of Rabshakeh confronted Hezekiah.
He said, “This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. In whom are you trusting that you would dare to rebel against me? “Look, you must be trusting in Egypt that splintered reed staff.…” Isaiah 36:4-6
It was true! Hezekiah was depending on his neighbor to the south, to come to his defense. Egypt needed Israel to be a buffer state between them and Assyria – a good reason to join the fight.
Rabshakeh wanted to undermine the king’s confidence, so he described Egypt as a “splintered staff.”
A staff was a shepherd’s tool. It was about 5 ft. long and used for stability. It was made of seasoned bamboo, strong and light and perfect for the job.
But once it was dried, it became brittle. Constant use would cause the ends to splinter and become sharp.
So, imagine a shepherd. As he descends a steep hill, he stables himself by putting his hand on the top of his staff. But he forgot that it was broken. Screams of pain follow as the splintered ends pierce the meat of his hand.
That’s how Rabshakeh described Egypt. He said, “If someone leans on it for support, it punctures his hand and wounds him.” (Isaiah 36:6)
The point (no pun intended) – Egypt may seem trustworthy, but she is incapable of defending Judah. Lean on her and you will destroy yourselves.”
He was right! When we lean on someone or something that is unreliable, we end up getting hurt.
And yet that’s what we often do. We lean on our investments to provide financial security and the medical establishment to protect our heath. We trust our schools to always put the best interests of our kids first.
We rely on our government to provide law and order. We trust our employer to always do the right thing by us and our families to always be there for us. We just assume our friends will always have our backs.
Sometimes they deliver – sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t – we end up with bloody hands.
Hezekiah decided that his enemy was right – so he forgot Egypt and turned to the Lord. He prayed, “Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.” – Isaiah 37:20
Like my wife, Hezekiah and his nation were helplessly falling, but He reached out and grabbed for God.
And this is how God answered, “The angel of the Lord went out and killed 185,000 troops in the Assyrian camp.” – Isaiah 37:36
The threat was completely eliminated, and Judah was secured.
Do you feel like you are falling these days? Leave your lean-to and grab onto God. He is here for you.
A PRAYER: Lord I am so glad that you will never, ever let me down. Thank You!
This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you
Scripture references are from the NETBible ®