September 21, 2011
Isaiah 37:1-38:22; Galatians 6:1-18;
Psalm 65:1-13; Proverbs 23:24
As our story begins, King Sennacherib of Assyria has sent a mocking and threatening letter to Hezekiah. Sennacherib has taunted and humiliated King Hezekiah and the God of Israel. When Hezekiah reads the letter his reaction is to tear his robe and go to the Lord's Temple. Hezekiah asks his advisers to pray to the Lord for the people in this day of trouble, insult, and disgrace. Hezekiah is not worried about his own reputation. He is worried about the fact that Sennacherib is misrepresenting God.
Isaiah plays a wonderful role as the prophet who is able to give Hezekiah answers from God. God assures Hezekiah that He, Himself, will lure Sennacherib back to his own country and kill him.
Verses 14-20 show us Hezekiah's prayer to God. Hezekiah acknowledges God as creator of the universe. He entreats the Lord to listen to his pleas. He asks God to defeat His enemies. He shows faith that idols are not gods at all. He proposes that God prove to Sennacherib that God alone is God.
Isaiah returns to Hezekiah with a word from the Lord and what a word it is! We see in verses 22-29 that although God has allowed Assyria to become so powerful, it is God who directs the course of nations and history. It is God who each person must humble themselves before. Sennacherib is in line to be punished for his arrogance and pride. Isaiah brings a detailed prediction of how the Assyrian king will come to his demise. God reminds Hezekiah that He will protect the city of David for the sake of David. God will defend the city.
That night, the angel of the Lord (pre-incarnate Christ) kills 185,000 Assyrians in their camp. The next morning the rest of them flee. Sennacherib is killed by his sons.
In chapter 38:9-20, Hezekiah writes an amazing poem of thanksgiving to the Lord. It reflects his heart in the midst of suffering, his desperate cries for God's help and deliverance, and his realization that discipline from the Lord is good. Hezekiah learns that suffering is good. Have you learned that in your life?
Hezekiah shows us that we can rely on God in our trials. God is in control of the universe. He is aware of every trial and predicament. He is personally interested in each of His created ones. We can trust God in all of our circumstances. Do you believe this? Do you act upon that faith?
Today, the Apostle Paul instructs on how to deal with a fellow Christian who is sinning. We are to gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. The founder of Alcoholics Anonymous was a Christian man who attempted to do this very thing. When we share each others problems and temptations we are obeying the law of Christ. Each of us is no better than anyone else. Each of us sins and needs community to help us. This is an important part of the Christian life.
Paul encourages us to not compare ourselves and our good works to other people. He also asks that we pay our religious teachers so that they can continue to teach. If you work to please the Spirit of God, you will reap a harvest of eternal life. Don't get tired of doing good, especially to other Christians. They are your eternal family. Do you find ways to help other Christians in need?
Paul mentions that the people who are preaching that everyone must be circumcised are just afraid of only preaching about the cross of Christ because they will be ridiculed if that is how they teach. Paul does not care if he is ridiculed for truth. Are you worried about appearing idiotic to other people because of your faith in Christ? Paul tells us that it is the cross that has caused him to not care so much about what the world thinks anymore. What really counts is whether or not we have become different people because of Jesus.
Have you become different because of what Christ did on the cross for you?
Read each sentence of this psalm that starts with "You." Look at all the works of God through these statements.
It is a joy to have godly children. Their wisdom is a blessing.
What did you notice today as you read? Please share.