Hey! It has been a super long time since I have written something on here, but there was purpose in that. Over the last year I have grown so much and chased Jesus faster than I ever have. And in that chase, I have learned so much about what I want to use my voice for. For those who have followed this blog since it began, clearly there has been a name change, and this is something that I am so excited about! ‘Passion’ is my favorite word. Even just the word itself excites me, lol. There was a time in my life that I did not know what I was passionate about, and I would stay up whole nights thinking about that word and asking God what my passion was supposed to be. And then it hit me… passion is my passion. Seeing people on fire for Jesus, seeing people pursue Him relentlessly, seeing lives changed forever, not just for moments. This is the real pursuit of Jesus - a walk marked not just by a small flame, but by a wildfire.
I read the story of King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18 & 19 this week and it portrays this idea so well. It is one of those stories in the Bible that you read and think HAS to be made up because God does so many radical things. It starts explaining the young kingship of Hezekiah, who was only twenty-five when he began serving Judah as king. Kings that were actually following God and not worshipping idols during this time were few and far between; however, Hezekiah’s life was marked by a fiery passion to serve the one and only God. 1 Kings 18:3 says that all he did was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. That sentence right there could be a sermon. I read that and instantly began asking myself: if everything in my life was being observed by God, would he find it ALL pleasing?
In Hezekiah’s passionate pursuit of God he did things that nobody understood. He tore apart the altars of idols, ripped away sacred pillars, and even took down the ‘high places’. The high places were used as places to worship God, so the removal of this piece made no sense to the citizens of Judah or the surrounding leaders of Israel. However, Hezekiah knew that these places were being used to worship false gods and so without hesitation, he obeyed. This is what I want my life to be marked by: no hesitation when God says ‘go’, even if it does not make sense.
Further along down Hezekiah’s reign, Judah was being threatened by Assyria. They came against the fortified cities of Judah and conquered them. Hezekiah’s response to this was to contact the leaders of Assyria and reason with them, giving them money in exchange for peace. During these meetings, the Assyrian “Rabshakeh” (chief of staff) began to threaten Hezekiah with demeaning words. It was his goal to bring Hezekiah into such doubt that he would give up his fight for Judah.
“What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?” (2 Kings 18:19)
These were the words spoken to Hezekiah. And before he could even respond, the Rabshakeh kept going, saying that even God must be disappointed in him because he tore down the high places and disrespected the name of the Lord. He went so far as to send Hezekiah a note that said, “Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria” (2 Kings 19:10). For me, that would have been the end. Hezekiah was being beaten on all sides, and now was being told that even his God would not come through on his behalf.
Here is where I paused in my reading of this story. How familiar that sounded to me. How many times have you felt that you were listening to God and obeying and following His voice so clearly, only to feel defeated, alone, and like a disappointment in the end? Oftentimes we don’t even need a Rabshakeh to say these things to us, we tell ourselves that God must be disappointed, that God must have left, that God must not care anymore.
But in this moment of defeat, Hezekiah KNEW that he had been obedient, so instead of sitting in his defeat, he kneeled at the cross. He began praying fervently for his city, for his people, for his own heart to remain confident in a what looked like a losing battle. It says that once he received this letter, he went up to the Lord’s temple and “spread it out” before Him (2 Kings 19:14). He openly admitted that his strength was completely depleted, so his immediate response was to allow God to defend him, to fight for him, to restore his peace and his strength.
And here is where you see the God of Israel rise up in a way that seems fiction. The armies of Assyria were encircled around the city of Jerusalem, believing that they had a sure victory. But then, in a single night, “the Angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers” (2 Kings 19:35) and the Assyrians went home, leaving Jerusalem safe and secure.
“The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (2 Kings 19:31).
What a beautiful God we serve. The same God that wiped out an entire army in one night fights our everyday battles with us. The passionate pursuit of God that Hezekiah lived by was met by the passionate protection of the Lord. Passion met by passion. He does not leave us wanting, He meets us as we are seeking.
So, my question is - what are you trusting in that makes you so confident?
What are you trusting in that makes you so peaceful in a global pandemic? What are you trusting in that makes you so excited when life seems so stagnant and mundane?
The same God who asked for an arc before the rains came.
The same God who picked someone with a stutter to speak for Him.
The same God who picked a murderer to write 2/3 of the New Testament.
The same God who allowed His son to appear dead for three days before He rose again.
I totally agree, it makes no sense. Living passionately for Someone invisible seems crazy. But just like Hezekiah, our passion for Him is met by the most radical, passionate, relentless chase of our hearts. What could be greater than being loved by the Creator of the entire universe? What could be better than having the Lord of Heaven’s Armies passionately protect you from every side?
This is the life I desire. A life marked by wildfire.
Are you on fire?