"What will one [in Judah] answer the messengers of the nation [of Philistia who are proposing a military defensive alliance against Assyria]? Yahweh has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge." - Isaiah 14:32
Around 715 bc, Assyria is marching south toward Philistia and Judah. Messengers of Philistia are sent to the new Judean king, Hezekiah, to propose a military alliance so that the two nations can withstand the Assyrian onslaught. What will Hezekiah, the young king, decide? Will he place his trust in the Philistines or in Yahweh, the God of Zion? Ahaz, Hezekiah's father, probably would have allied with the Philistines. But not Hezekiah. There's a new king in town! Eventually, the Philistines are swallowed up by Assyria, but Judah, under Hezekiah's leadership, remains free even at the height of Assyrian domination. God acts in an extraordinary way to keep Judah independent (see Isaiah 36-37). Truly there was (and is) a refuge for God's people in Zion.
There are some great life lessons here: (1) in panicky situations, don't form foolish alliances--instead trust in God; and (2) God has founded a place of refuge for the afflicted of his people--that place is Zion. Zion is the location from which King Jesus will rule the earth. The reason Zion is a refuge is because that's where Jesus will be.
Father, it is such a privilege to come to you this morning and pray. Thank you that you have established a place of refuge for your people. Thank you that you yourself are our refuge. It would be easy to panic given what we see in the news. But we must not do it. You are testing our faith. May we pass the test. May we relax and completely trust in you. Like Hezekiah, may we not form foolish alliances or put our trust in man and man's solutions to problems. Instead may we put our trust in you. In times of pandemic, governmental tyranny, war, famine, or housing shortage--whatever it may be--we as Christians are not to panic. We have a refuge. Help me, personally, to remember this, Father. I look forward to the rule of Jesus, when he comes. I choose to take refuge in him today. Thank you for refreshing me with your biblical promises. I love you today. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman