Get Curious, Not Defensive

S (Scripture): 2 Kings 18:28 The chief adviser (to the king of Assyria) then stood there (before God’s people in Judah) and called out loudly in the Judahite dialect, “Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 29 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you from my hand! 30 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord when he says, “The Lord will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.”
…35 Who among all the gods of the lands has rescued their lands from my power? So how can the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’”

O (Observation):  The kings of Israel and Judah were in cycles of doing good in the sight of the Lord and doing evil in the sight of the Lord.  Neighboring nations continually threatened to invade and take over the lush lands inhabited by God’s people.  

Here, the Assyrians are taking on Judah and its king, King Hezekiah.   The adviser to the king of Assyria is trying to cause Judah’s people to doubt the level of protection that their God can provide.   He is planting seeds of doubt, recalling other victories of the Assyrians.  

A (Application):   Facebook is my main source of doubt.  Cynicism is on a sharp increase of late, and it destroys the joy of social media.   I don’t like unfriending people and so I just end up scrolling through to read the next post down…from someone less cynical…or a post of a funny kid picture or a picture of someone’s pet.  

With folks being so divisive, I can start to see how we don’t feel like much hope exists.   The Enemy finds ways to cause us to say and do things that divide, rather than build up. (How do I know?  Because I’ve said things intentionally divisive, and I repent of those times in which I was too harsh.)

So, what builds up?  Perhaps curiosity, rather than defensiveness.  When someone writes a cynical post, I’ve started to get curious, rather than defensive.   That posture takes a lot of energy, though, I will admit.   If you don’t have the energy to keep that posture, perhaps you should keep scrolling…until you do have the energy.   Don’t let the cries of the Enemy win.  God wins.   God has won, already.   

P (Prayer):  Lord, give us wisdom to know when to move on and when to get curious.  Amen. 

Getting Defensive


S (Scripture): Acts 16:20 When they had brought Paul and Silas before the magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion. They are Jews 16:21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us to accept or practice, since we are Romans.”

O (Observation): On several levels, those in Philippi did not agree with Paul and Silas, and did not agree with their customs. Paul and Silas brought a different religion, different customs, and a different tradition. Three strikes, and you’re out.

What stands out to me is the motivation for the arrest of Paul and Silas. Just before this arrest, Paul exorcises the demons from a lady who is supposed to be gifted with divination for fortunetelling. Without this gift of a fortune teller, this slave girl’s owners were to lose out on their business, for people would pay good money to hear their fortune told.

The owners of the fortune-teller are upset, so they go to the authorities and give other reasons as to why Paul and Silas should be arrested: their religion, upsetting of tradition and customs. Truth is, Paul & Silas weren’t good for their business.

A (Application): Jesus went through the same kind of things. He was arrested for bringing a disturbance and for believing in God in a new way. That didn’t matter to the religious establishment. What mattered to them, and why they wanted Jesus arrested and killed, was that he was overthrowing the religious establishment…which affected the status and well-being of the church leaders of the time.

In both cases (with Jesus and Paul & Silas), selfishness is really the impetus for the hatred and defensiveness.

I think about what I hold dear in my life, but may not be necessary for me to do so. Things like: my routines, my preferences of how things should go in the family or at church. In these cases, I want my will to be done…not The Lord’s.

I can get defensive. But should I? I see Paul & Silas’ arrest as a reminder and a warning: I will become selfish and angry towards those who disagree with me. Instead of resorting to violence or division, perhaps discerning a word from The Lord would be wise in those situations : )

How do you listen for a word from the Lord? With whom do you share this opportunity?

P (Prayer): Lord, we all have a will, yearning for what it wants. Help us to see you in those around us. Help us not to take our lives as the be-all end-all in this world. Instead, help us to see your presence here and now, and give us eyes to see your wonders loved. Amen.