ODJ: encouraging words

June 3, 2015 

READ: 2 Chronicles 32:1-8 

“He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people (v.8).

The head teacher of a British primary school wrote a letter to encourage his students after a long and hard week of testing. He said, “The school is proud of you as you have demonstrated a huge amount of commitment and tried your very best during a tricky week. These tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who drew up the tests do not know each of you. . . . These people do not know you try, every day, to be your very best. Remember that there are many ways of being smart.”

What encouraging words! Encouragement is a powerful tool. This is probably why, like that British headteacher, King Hezekiah gave a brief but powerful speech to encourage his troops during a particularly discouraging time.

In the 14th year of the faithful reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, King Sennacherib moved to seize Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:13; 2 Chronicles 32:1). Hezekiah implemented counter-measures, which included concealing water supplies and repairing the breaches in the wall. Then, to infuse his troops with confidence, Hezekiah encouraged them not to be fearful or discouraged (vv.7-8). The king wanted a great reality to wash over their hearts: The Lord is greater than the Assyrian army. Yes, their foes were powerful, but Hezekiah reminded his people that victory doesn’t come from an army’s might—it comes from our all-powerful God.

Do you know people who are facing discouragement, fear and anxiety? Has something robbed them of their peace and joy? Remind them of these truths: God hears our cries, comforts us in our fears, steadies our lives with His powerful hand and is stronger than any enemy. Be encouraged!

—Marvin Williams

365-day-plan: Jonah 1:1–2:10

Read Isaiah 40:30-31 and see some of the effects of being encouraged by God. 
When do you tend to get discouraged, and how do you typically respond? How does the reality that God is on your side and fighting for you help your heart to soar?