Prophecy Fulfilled 

Micah 1:13
O inhabitant of Lachish, Harness the chariot to the swift steeds (She was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion), For the transgressions of Israel were found in you.”

Micah prophesy’s specifically about the cause of the fall of the Judaean city of Lachish. Lachish was the second most important city of the Judah. It was located about 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem and was designed as a stronghold to protect the nation against invasions. It was situated on a hill, surrounded by hills and fortified with great walls and gates. This seemingly impenetrable city would suffer a great defeat when, under the leadership of Sennacherib, the Assyrian forces attacked. Micah declares that the cause of their defeat was sin. The inhabitants of Lachish seemed to have introduced many of the sinful practices, rampant in Israel, to the people of Judah. Their sin would be the cause of their fall. It is worth noting,  no high walls or trained army can protect a nation that turns from God.

The fall of the city of Lachish is one of the most documented events in ancient times. Not only do the remains of the ancient city testify of its fall, but we have the biblical narrative, and the reliefs that filled the palace of the Assyrian King. We learn that a great army, armed with soldiers, archers and battering rams, came against Lachish. The soldiers erected siege mounds, enabling the wheeled battering rams to approach the city gates, while the soldiers took cover behind these massive structures. Soon the walls were broken down and the people taken captive. So proud was the Assyrian King of his victory, that he dedicated an entire room of his palace to display the victory in vivid detail. These reliefs can be seen, today, in the British museum. They show Israel being defeated, many of the soldiers being tortured, and the inhabitants being taken before the king to bow in submission. In addition to these, archeologists also found a large pit that served as a massive grave with the remains of over 1,500 bodies.

With vivid detail, the prophecy of Micah, regarding Lachish, came true. The city that introduced idolatry and wickedness to the nation, became the first to fall, and its people suffered greatly. In contrast, at the same time Lachish was falling, the inhabitants of Jerusalem looked to the Lord and repented. Perhaps it is time to take personal inventory of any areas where we might need to turn something over to God.

Pastor Jim

 

Big And Strong

Ezekiel 31:3
“Indeed Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with fine branches that shaded the forest, and of high stature; and its top was among the thick boughs.”

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At the time of Ezekiel’s writing, Egypt was one of the most powerful nations in the world. So great was their strength, many nations allied themselves with Egypt, in an attempt to withstand Babylonian occupation. Many in Judah still believed they could defeat Babylon, if they had the help of the Egyptians. Ezekiel wrote to warn Egypt of the danger they faced. This warning is one that every Christian ought to take to heart.

It illustrates the exhortation of Paul, who wrote,

1 Corinthians 10:12 “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

In order to warn Egypt, Ezekiel takes us back in time to remind us of the once powerful Assyrian empire, which had been defeated and destroyed. He compares Assyria to a massive tree of the forest that provided lodging for the birds of the air and shade for the beasts of the forest. This tree was greater than any other tree in the garden of God; it was the desire of all the rest. Ezekiel explains, the secret to the strength of this tree, was an underground water source that provided what was necessary for its growth. Sadly, as the chapter unfolds, the tree weakens, falls, and becomes as much a picture of failure, as it had ever been of success. Ezekiel tells that the cause of the fall was lifting up it’s heart in pride; perhaps failing to understand the hidden source of its strength.

This should serve as a vivid reminder to every Christian, of both the secret to growth and the cause of collapse. Jesus compared us to branches. When connected to the vine, we will have a source of strength resulting in a thriving Christian life, full of fruit. He also warned of the danger of being cut off from the vine. This would result in losing the ability to bear fruit, taking the effectiveness out of our life, and hamper our witness for Christ. Just as Assyria was filled with pride and no longer saw their need for the hidden source of strength, it is common for the Christian to forget that daily time with Christ, His Word, and the fellowship of His body, is what really fuels our growth. When we neglect time with the Lord, we are cutting ourselves off from the very source of strength and growth.

Sadly, Egypt and Judah alike, failed to take to heart the warning, and found themselves defeated. Nations that once shone brightly upon the landscape, became a shell of what they  were. Let’s not be among the casualties. Take time to invest daily in your walk with Christ, abide in the vine, and bear the fruit of godly living.

Pastor Jim