Sunday, July 27, 2014

Will you trust Him when things get Worse?

Read Isaiah 37.

The Assyrians surrounded Jerusalem with an overwhelming show of force.  They not only demanded immediate surrender, but they mocked the LORD saying that trust in Him was vain.  King Hezekiah said, "This is a day of distress, or rebuke, and of disgrace" (v.3).

The test of faith was on.  The question: Whom do you trust?  Judah did not have the resources to fight and win.  God had promised to protect them.  He even said through Isaiah that the Assyrians would be defeated and go home.  How could that possibly happen?  There was no answer but to cast their total dependence on the faithful LORD who had promised.

What did Hezekiah do?
1. He asked for prayer. (v.4)
The king first turned to his number one prayer warrior to ask for God's help.

2. He sought godly counsel. (vv.5-7)
In those days, the word of God was delivered through the prophets.  Isaiah provided advice straight from the LORD.  First, "Do not be afraid."  Fear is the opposite of faith.  Confidence in God pleases Him.  Second, God has a plan to fulfill His promise.  Most often He uses us in His plan, but, as in this case, He does not need us.  He is in total control

After those two major steps in the process, things became worse!  That is not an uncommon experience.  We think if we pray and do what is right, everything will be fine.  The reality is that the test of our faith may become harder.  When God acts in an impossible situation no one else can take the credit.  It also provides an unprecedented opportunity for personal spiritual growth.

What did Hezekiah do when things got worse?
3. He "spread it out before the LORD." (v.14)
Having received Sennacherib's threatening letter, the king physically laid the letter down in front of him as he prayed for God to intervene.  The Assyrians' biggest mistake was to assume that the God of Israel was just like all the man-made gods of other nations.  This had become a spiritual war.  The motive of Hezekiah's prayer was "that the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the LORD." (v.20)

In verse 28, God said He heard every word.  God saw the complacency of some toward Him and the outright rage of others.  185,000 Assyrian soldiers died without one arrow having been shot from Jerusalem.  Sennacherib went home in disgrace and was assassinated by his own sons.

This actual, historically verified account cannot be dismissed by any naysayer.  Our God is all-powerful.  Our God is faithful to fulfill His every word.  Do not be afraid.  Spread it out before the LORD in prayer and trust Him.

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