2 Chronicles 32:1-23; Romans 15:23-33; Psalms 26:1-8; Proverbs 10:23
OT: “After Hezekiah’s faithful deeds, King Sennacherib of Assyria came and entered Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities and intended to break into them… He (Hezekiah) set military commanders over the people and gathered the people in the square of the city gate. Then he encouraged them, saying, “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged before the king of Assyria or before the large army that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. He has only human strength, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” So the people relied on the words of King Hezekiah of Judah. After this, while King Sennacherib of Assyria with all his armed forces besieged Lachish, he sent his servants to Jerusalem against King Hezekiah of Judah and against all those of Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying… “So now, don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, and don’t let him mislead you like this. Don’t believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to rescue his people from my power or the power of my predecessors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!” …Then they called out loudly in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem, who were on the wall, to frighten and discourage them in order that he might capture the city. They spoke against the God of Jerusalem like they had spoken against the gods of the peoples of the earth, which were made by human hands. King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven, and the Lord sent an angel who annihilated every valiant warrior, leader, and commander in the camp of the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria returned in disgrace to his land. He went to the temple of his god, and there some of his own children struck him down with the sword.” (2 Chronicles 32:1, 6-9, 15, 18-21 CSB)
During the time of Hezekiah’s reign, Assyria attacked the northern kingdom of Israel and took the Israelites into captivity. 2 Kings 17 explained that the northern kingdom of Israel was defeated because they had completely rejected the Lord and gave themselves over to the worship of other gods and idols. The southern kingdom of Judah was following the same path until Hezekiah came into power and led the nation back to faithfulness in the Lord. After Hezekiah’s successful reformation of his kingdom, Assyria turned its sights on Judah. They invaded the land with the intention of overthrowing Hezekiah and taking over Judah as they had done with Israel. However, there was a big difference between Judah and Israel. Because of Hezekiah’s reforms, Judah trusted in the Lord God. Though King Sennacherib had been successful against other nations, those nations placed their faith in man-made idols. He would soon discover that Hezekiah’s God was not a mere idol, but the true and living God of creation. Sennacherib and his messengers attacked the reputation of Hezekiah and the name of the Lord. No matter how much he tried to turn Judah against Hezekiah or to get Hezekiah to surrender in fear, they wouldn’t budge. Was Hezekiah afraid? If you read this account in 2 Kings, you will find that he was afraid – but he laid those fears before the Lord and trusted Him for vindication. As Hezekiah and Judah retained their integrity and their faith in the Lord, the Lord brought vindication and Sennacherib was humiliated and defeated.
Psalms: “Vindicate me, Lord, because I have lived with integrity and have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind. For your faithful love guides me, and I live by your truth. I do not sit with the worthless or associate with hypocrites. I hate a crowd of evildoers, and I do not sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, Lord, raising my voice in thanksgiving and telling about your wondrous works. Lord, I love the house where you dwell, the place where your glory resides.” (Psalms 26:1-8 CSB)
The idea behind the word vindicate is to pass judgement – to defend a cause and punish the guilty. King David was a man who wholeheartedly pursued God’s will and ways. His trust in the Lord was unwavering. But apparently, there were some in his kingdom who were bringing charges against him and attempting to smear his name. David wasn’t perfect, and there were times when he fell into sin – but he was quick to repent and maintain his relationship with the Lord, and the sum total of his life was marked with faithfulness to God. David claimed to be integrous – his thoughts and actions were unto the Lord – and he asked the Lord to test him, examine him, and ultimately vindicate him. This is why integrity is so important. This is why our integrity is such a big deal to God. This is how our integrity before the Lord will protect us and preserve us. The Apostle James wrote that a double-minded person is unstable in all his ways. That infers that a person of integrity – a person who is steadfast in their faith and devotion to the Lord, is grounded, stable and immovable. When we maintain integrity with the Lord and retain our faith in Him no matter what comes our way, the Lord will defend us, vindicate us, and turn our trials into blessing.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that as I remain faithful to You and do not allow myself to give in to fear or anxiety, You defend me, vindicate me, and turn my trials into blessing. I thank You that You have sent your Holy Spirit to walk beside me and abide within me – to remind me of Your word, will and ways when life becomes challenging, to lead me on Your paths of righteousness, and to empower me unto integrity. Fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit that I may walk in faithfulness to You today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.