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8 December 2017

 

Friday 8th December - 2 Kings 19: 14 - 19

Hezekiah – God with us when we’re under attack.

 A number of times during my ministry – whether as vicar in South London, or Bishop in Stepney, Birmingham and now in York, I have received hate mail – and one person was tried, convicted and sentenced. These letters were from people who wanted put me down; to call into question not only who and what I am, but also my beliefs and hopes. Sadly, in these days of cyber bullying, more and more of us are becoming familiar with hate mail, and many people have been driven to despair and hopelessness as a result.  What do we do when faced with the hatred and insults from people we have never met?

Like Elijah, Hezekiah was in a bad place. He had tried to stand up to the bullying and threats of his powerful military neighbours, as they sought to overcome Jerusalem and his people. His enemies were confident in their own strength and they thought they knew his weakness, so they sent a piece of hate mail, ridiculing his show of bravado and his beliefs, jeering that he’d been conned by the promises of God.

But Hezekiah’s trust was stronger than their intimidation. He didn’t sit around beating his breast at the hopelessness of his position and the inadequacy of his defence. He took it straight to the Lord in prayer.   “Look at this abuse!’ he exclaimed to God.  ‘These arrogant people think that pieces of wood or stone are gods that they can destroy if they want.  And they have the nerve to insult you! Please just show them how great you really are. Show them that you are God with us.”

I spend much time in prayer when hate mail comes to me, or when I hear about online intimidation. May we, like Hezekiah, always put our hope and trust in our God who is with us, and whose love is greater than any hatred.

 

 

For further reflection, please read “In Touch with God: Advent meditations on biblical prayers” by Michael & Rosemary Green, pages 32 - 35