|(This is not Israel, but another face from El Salvador)|
Israel had a rough life growing up in El Salvador, turning worse when he tried to untangle his kite from some power lines . . . with a metal pole.
He spend two years in the hospital recovering from his electrical injuries - his hand disfigured and walking with a limp - marking the path the electricity took through his body on its way to the ground. Israel was lucky yo be alive.
With his physical injuries he was picked on in school by the other kids, eventually falling in with a gang simply because, even if they did bad things, nobody else loved him and they welcomed him. Israel would have been totally lost if it weren't for a local pastor who took a chance.
After several attempts to get Israel to attend the Compassion school he finally decided he needed to try something different - confronting the gang's leader - making it known that he wanted Israel. He did this over and over again until the gang leader finally relented.
So Israel began to learn at the Compassion school, and he learned well. His mentor discipled him and taught him to control and conquer his fears. Israel became a Christian. His self esteem grew. He graduated high school and got a job. Are you ready for this? His job was as an electrical engineer. He had conquered his fear through the love of a stranger. Just one of Compassion's many success stories.
As I heard my friend tell this story I couldn't help but think of ANOTHER Israel - the nation. I just finished reading the book of 2nd Kings this week. 1st and 2nd Kings are filled with stories of kings who "did not do what was right in the eyes of The Lord." They worshiped other gods. They sacrificed their children to them. They practiced sorcery & worshiped the constellations. All these things are detestable in the eyes of God.
Does any of that sound familiar? We are no different today.
Like Israel the boy, we too are damaged. Lonely, lost and enslaved by the worst gang leader of them all - Satan - we are in need of someone to save us from the world in which we live. His name is Jesus.
Chapter 22 from the Book of 2nd Kings tells the story of Josiah. He was eight years old when he became king. He did what was right in the eyes of The Lord. When he was in his mid 20's the Book of The Law was found. He read it and repented immediately, tearing his robes, and crying. He knew that the people had not been obeying God. He sent some men to hear the word of the Lord through the prophetess Huldah. This is what the Lord said.
"15 Then she said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Tell the man who sent you to Me, 16 “Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants - all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read - 17 because they have forsaken Me and burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands. Therefore My wrath shall be aroused against this place and shall not be quenched.’”’ 18 But as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, in this manner you shall speak to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Concerning the words which you have heard - 19 because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord. 20 “Surely, therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place.”’” So they brought back word to the king." - 2 Kings 22:15-20
God sees and hears those who are repentant and seek Him. Just like God sent the pastor for the child Israel, He sent Jesus into this world to save us. We have to make a decision. King Josiah read God's Word and made his decision and God honored him for that. Each of us must do the same.
Pray for people of courage, willing to confront evil. Let us "tear our clothes" as we use mercy, grace and love as our weapons in this war against the evil one. Let us stand firm for our Lord and King in the truth of His Word. And let our love be the proof that we are His and that we are saved.
The Proof of Your Love - For King And Country
From Darkness To Light - Compassion In India