Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, “The Lord will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’” II Kings 18:28-35 ESV
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:29-21 ESV
Once there was a girl named Dorothy who lived with her uncle and aunt in Kansas. They loved her and she was happy with them, but she also sometimes wished for a different life in a different place. She dreamed of a place somewhere over the rainbow where life would be happier and there wouldn’t be the troubles she faced at home. Then a tornado took her to the wonderful land of Oz, far away, where she had many adventures. But all through her adventures Dorothy realized that she had been the happiest when she had been home, and her only wish was to return to her family in Kansas.
The people of Jerusalem were in terrible trouble. Assyrian officials were standing outside their city walls, taunting them and telling them not to listen to King Hezekiah. They told the people that their God could never save them from the Assyrian army, because none of the gods of the other nations had been able to stop the Assyrians. If the people of Jerusalem would surrender, they would live in peace until the king of Assyria took them to another place and let them live in a beautiful country with grain fields and vineyards, olive trees and honey. They wouldn’t miss their old country because the place the king of Assyria would put them would be such a lovely place. These officials wanted to make the people give up by giving them empty promises of a better place. They wanted to weaken the people’s love for their home country that God had given them by making them long for another place that was better than they had.
We know that our life is with God, but sometimes we start to long for other things. We might think that we’d be happier if we had fewer troubles or didn’t have to do things God’s way. We look away from God and start to treasure things on this earth more than we treasure the things of God. But God the Holy Spirit always calls us back to him, and reminds us that there’s nothing more wonderful than the life we have with God. The life we have with God is so precious that Jesus came to give his life on the cross to win it for us. We know that the love God shows us in Jesus is the most precious thing we will ever have, now and always.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the life we have with you. Help us to always treasure your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Fleming, Victor, dir. The Wizard of Oz Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1939. Film.