Serving the High Plains

June 21: The longest day

It’s June 21, the longest day of the year, although God made one or two days longer (Joshua 10:12-14; 2 Kings 20:1-11; Isaiah 38:1-8).

In both cases, God looked to his people’s best interests and, in Joshua’s case, he increased torment for his people’s enemies. I’d bet the Israelites thought, “When will this day ever end!” after the all-night march and despite the fact they, or actually God, was winning, although I suspect God gave them sufficient energy to finish the battle.

God’s battle for Israel against evil was part of a war started in heaven he already had won on our behalf, although the battles continue for our very souls/spirits (Revelation 12:7-12; Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-24; Job 1:1-12; 2:1-10; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Hebrews 2:14-18).

After God extended Hezekiah’s life, sealing that promise with a sign, likely lengthening the day, Hezekiah wrote a magnificent tribute to God for his salvation (Isaiah 38:9-20).

First, Hezekiah knew someone else controlled life and death. For our good, God set the dates of our earthly existence, but Satan has power in death for the disobedient toward God because eternal death is sin’s reward and Satan wants us all to die (Acts 17:24-27; Psalm 139:13-16; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:11-15).

While one could argue otherwise, I think Hezekiah referred to Satan as the bone-crushing lion because Satan causes most people’s suffering, including Hezekiah’s, Job’s and Paul’s. God had attributed righteousness to them, just like he did for Abraham (2 Corinthians 12:1-10; James 2:21-24). So their suffering wasn’t for punishment (Hebrews 12:1-11).

Second, Hezekiah sought relief without wrongly accusing God (Job 1:22; Paul’s thorn in the flesh was Satan’s messenger). Hezekiah also listed some of the good God did in restoring his health and saving him from the pit of death. While that was simply an early grave, the pit God will save us from is hell. Thus, Hezekiah accepted suffering as good for helping him remember God’s love, which led him to praise God.

Finally, Hezekiah knew God would save his spirit/soul to live eternally in God’s temple (Psalm 31:1-8). Hezekiah also knew God would help him live faithfully, relying on God’s power for strength until his spirit/soul returned to God (James 1:2-4; 1 John 1:5-9; Ecclesiastes 12:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 1:1-7).

While the Israelites received atonement for sins under the Mosaic Law (the Old Covenant), which looked forward to Jesus’ sacrifice, God’s indwelling Spirit, resulting from our obedience under the New Covenant, is Christians’ guarantee of heaven as long as we continue to live in the light, following Abrahams’ and Jesus’ righteous examples (Acts 5:32; Ephesians 1:13-14; Galatians 3:26-29; 4:6-7; Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-29).

Have you followed God’s command to have your sins forgiven, making you his child (Acts 2:1-21, 36-41; 22:1-16; Romans 10:8-17; John 13:2-10; 5:24; Luke 8:5-15, 19-21; James 1:21-25)? Are you faithfully remaining God’s child (John 15:9-14; Revelation 2:10; 3:4-6; 2:7; Hebrews 10:19-25)? Hell’s residents know their night of torment will never end (Luke 16:19-31; Mark 9:47-48; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-12).

Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected].

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