In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it.But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. In the night I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek you. For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right. Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do good. Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong and take no notice of the Lord’s majesty. O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist. Show them your eagerness to defend your people. Then they will be ashamed. Let your fire consume your enemies. Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you. O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship.Those we served before are dead and gone. Their departed spirits will never return! You attacked them and destroyed them, and they are long forgotten. O Lord, you have made our nation great; yes, you have made us great. You have extended our borders, and we give you the glory! Lord, in distress we searched for you. We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline. Just as a pregnant woman writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth, so were we in your presence, Lord. We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering. We have not given salvation to the earth, nor brought life into the world. But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead! Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed. Look! The Lord is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins.The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed. They will be brought out for all to see. (Isaiah 26 NLT)
And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. (1 Kings 16:30 ESV)
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. (2 Chronicles 34:1-2 ESV)
Reading the books of Kings and Chronicles, we see quickly that there were bad kings and good kings. When we look deeper, we see that there were bad kings and kings worse than them as well as good kings and excellent kings.
There were bad kings who knew that God was God, but “worshipped” Him as they wanted, making idols and altars, creating pagan places of worship. Then, there were those who worshipped Baal and other false gods. There were good kings who did not do everything God would have wanted them to and kings after God’s own heart who followed David’s example. And there were good kings who became evil and an evil king who repented.
Every human being belongs to one of those categories. If you don’t think that you are a Christian after God’s own heart, today is your opportunity to repent. There is always room for repentance in God’s kingdom, always an opportunity to become like Josiah.
Before him there was no king like him , who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him. (2 Kings 23:25 ESV)
“Then David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites. Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.” So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 15:11-15 ESV)
God is so amazing, so unique. He is a friend, a father, a brother, a helper, a comforter among other things. It is easy to focus on these aspects of His uniqueness and to forget His holiness. We tend to see His approachability as an invitation to do as we want in our relationship with Him. But there are rules to seek God. Repentance is one, faith in Christ another one, and gratitude and reverence others. Grace is grace, but grace is holy. Love is love, but love does not mean disrespect, contempt, or right to complain or test God. There is a place for weakness in our relationship with God, but do not expect God to change His word, His rules for you. He did not even change them for David, the man according to His own heart.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV)
The Lord is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation. (Psalm 118:14)
I praise the LORD for He has been good to me.
He called me and restored my soul.
He never leaves me alone and will never fail me.
My hope is sure because He is faithful.
I worship You, LORD, for You alone are God.
You are sovereign and you reign.
Without You, I am nothing.
Without You, I can do nothing.
I love You, LORD, for you loved me first.
You redeemed and saved me.
I am Yours.
You carry me and bring me home.
I adore You, LORD, for You are my God.
Today let’s talk about heroes. My favourite is Batman. Why him? Why not Superman, Spiderman and all the others who send their time saving the world? Because he is normal, simply human. A human with a mission but still a human. No super power, no supernatural protection. He is human. I fell in love with him years ago. I was a teenager. Since then, I have been in love. And it feels like i will never stop loving him. Why? Because his mission never changes. After years, he still wants to protect and save his fellow-citizens. I love Batman. In the same way, I love Anna. She is my heroine.
Why? she was a blessed single. A single with a mission.
Luke 2: 36-38 says she was very old. She was eighty-four. I can’t even imagine being that old. She was old and she had been single for most of her life. She had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage. As in those days, women used to get married young, let’s say she got married at sixteen. So she was a widow at twenty-three. I can imagine her loneliness, her despair. It seems that she didn’t have children. At least, I choose to believe that she had no children. She could have been bitter, sad and depressed. She could have cursed the Lord. She could have done a lot things. But she chose to serve the Lord. In her despair, she chose the best. She was not a great leader, running everywhere and showing people how important and busy she was. She was a servant. She served her God and his people by praying and fasting. She was a single and she decided to use her time praying and fasting. She worshipped night and day.
My question to you, my question to me is: what are we doing with our time? What are we doing with our nights and your days? Are we using our skills to serve the Lord? Are we using our gifts to worship Him? If you don’t know what to do, pray… and fast. Pray for the Church, pray for other single women. Pray for your neighbours, pray for all those who don’t know God. Pray and fast. Pray for yourself. Pray to be content and grateful. Pray to serve Him who made you. Pray to find a husband. And above all, pray to be a single after his own heart. Just pray and worship Him.
Prayers change hearts. Prayers change history. Prayers draw us close to God. Prayers make us know God and His ways. Anna knew. She knew what all the leaders of her time didn’t notice. She knew. She knew Jesus was the Messiah. She knew He came to redeem his people. How did she know? She never gave up. She has a mission: being close to her Maker, worshipping Him.
She was a single with a mission. She is my heroine for ” She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.”
May the Lord fill your heart with prayers this week.