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Sermon #115 — Isaiah Series
Title: Lessons for A Day of Trouble
Text: Isaiah 37:1-38
Subject: Hezekiah’s Prayer and God’s Promise
Date: Sunday Morning — January 5, 2020
Reading: Isaiah 37:1-38
What a tremendous contrast there is between Hezekiah and his father Ahaz. — Hezekiah was a man of faith. His father Ahaz was a man of compromise. — Hezekiah was a man of prayer. Ahaz was a man of presumption. — Hezekiah sought the glory of God. Ahaz provoked the Lord to anger. — Hezekiah honored God and was honored by God. His father Ahaz sought his own honor and was buried in dishonor.
In the time of trouble Ahaz connived with Tiglathpileser and became an accomplice with the Assyrians. Because of his unbelief, cowardice, and compromise the northern kingdom was forever destroyed and Samaria was carried away into captivity and slavery.
It was not so with Hezekiah. In the time of trouble he believed God. He refused to compromise. He went into the house of the Lord in sackcloth, covered with ashes, and spread his case before the Lord. In response to his prayer of faith the Lord God delivered his people from their time of trouble and destroyed their enemies.
When Sennacherib and the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem and threatened to destroy it, Hezekiah the king sent a message to the prophet Isaiah, saying, “This day is a day of trouble!” I have titled my message Lessons for a Day of Trouble — Lessons for a Day of Trouble. —
“This day is a day of trouble!” — Without question, those words describe the day in which we live. We are living in those perilous times Paul warned us of in 2nd Timothy 3:1-9. Apostate religion holds the world in darkness. And apostate religion always brings with it lawlessness, moral perversity, and brazen wickedness. In addition to these things, believers have personal trials which often come one upon the heels of another, which bring us personal days of trouble. What are we to do in the day of trouble? Where can we find help? How can we glorify God in the day of trouble? Read Isaiah 37 carefully. These things “were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). In this chapter Hezekiah teaches us some valuable lessons for the day of trouble.
Proposition: This chapter shows us that God’s people are the apple of his eye, always under his care and protection, and he will both deliver us from all our troubles and destroy all our enemies.
· By the Blood of Christ.
· By the Power of His Grace.
· By the Works of His Providence.
1st — In the time of trouble we should, like Hezekiah, worship the Lord our God. In the day of trouble do not neglect the house of God. Broken and humbled by his circumstances, with a heavy, needy heart, Hezekiah “went into the house of the LORD” (vv. 1-7). We will be wise to do the same. You will not find any help for your soul anywhere else.
When Ahaz was in trouble, he sought to deliver himself from trouble by his own cunning, conniving, and craftiness. When Hezekiah was in trouble, he sought the Lord his God.
He went to the house of worship with a broken heavy heart (vv. 1-3).
(Isaiah 37:1-2) And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. (2) And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.
Hezekiah took his troubles to the Lord (Hebrews 4:16). — Don’t take things in your own hands. Leave things in God’s hands. Cast your care upon him. — “He careth for you!”
Though Hezekiah was in trouble, his concern was not so much for himself as it was for the glory of God and the people of God (vv. 2-5).
(Isaiah 37:3-5) And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. (4) It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left. (5) So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
· He sought a word from God.
· He sought the glory of God.
· He sought the welfare of God’s people. — “The Remnant.”
God met Hezekiah with a word of grace in the house of worship (vv. 6-7).
(Isaiah 37:6-7) And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. (7) Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.
Here is an encouragement to faith. — “Be not afraid!”— “The battle is the Lord’s!” — No matter what my battle is, if I am God’s child, if I am his servant, if his cause is my cause, the battle is the Lord’s. I have nothing to fear. My foes are just hot wind. Nothing more. The words of men are just words. Nothing else. Satan’s assaults are without power before our great Savior.
Here is a promise of deliverance. — “Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land” (v. 7). — “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” (Romans 16:20).
In the day of trouble, seek a word from God. Hezekiah went to the house of God seeking a word from the prophet of God (v. 2). Let us do the same. Come to the house of God praying for God to give his servant a word for you, for your own heart, a word for you personally, a word to encourage, comfort, strengthen, and direct you in faith.
· Cast your care upon the Lord your God and Savior.
· He is the Lord.
· He cares for you (Romans 8:32). — Eternal Election! — Blood Atonement! — Saving Grace! — Divine Preservation! — Special Providence!
Illustration: Manoah’s Wife (Judges 13:23)
When Hezekiah sought a word from God, he found it (vv. 6-7). So will you.
2nd — In verses 8-13, there is a lesson about faith. — True faith will be tried and proved (James 1:1, 2, 12; Romans 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Peter 1:7).
(James 1:1-3) James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. (2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
(James 1:12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
(Romans 5:1-5) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (18) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
(1 Peter 1:7) The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
Hezekiah already had the promise of God. Deliverance was sure. God, who cannot lie, promised to destroy Sennacherib. Yet, the first thing Hezekiah met with when he came out of the house of the Lord was Rabshakeh, Sennacherib’s blaspheming ambassador.
(Isaiah 37:8-13) So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. (9) And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, (10) Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. (11) Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? (12) Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar? (13) Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?
“The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hebrews 2:3).
· Usually, God’s promises are not immediately fulfilled.
· But every promise of God is sure. — Just wait!
· Satan says, “Look around you and tremble.” God our Savior says, “Look unto me and be ye saved!”
3rd — The third lesson is a lesson about prayer (vv. 14-20). — Prayer is the cry of the needy heart to the God of all grace, seeking the glory of God and the will of God, believing the Word of God.
(Isaiah 37:14-20) And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. (15) And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, (16) O LORD of hosts, — God of Israel, that — dwellest between the cherubims, — thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. (17) Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. (18) Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, (19) And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. (20) Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.
The knowledge of God’s purpose is not a hindrance to prayer, but an encouragement! Hezekiah knew what God had promised. He knew God’s purpose. He was not trying to get God to change his mind! He was simply asking God to do what he had already sworn he would do. — Predestination is the handmaid of prayer.
Now, look at Hezekiah’s prayer. Knowing what God had promised…
· He came to God by faith in Christ, trusting God who “dwelleth between the cherubims,” trusting God upon the mercyseat. — He came to God by faith in the blood.
· He spread his cause before the Lord (vv. 14, 17-19).
· He praised the name of the Lord (v. 16).
· He asked God to do what he promised he would do — “save us” (v. 20; 2 Samuel 7:27).
· He offered an argument God could not resist (v. 20). — “That all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord, even thou only.”
All true prayer is the work of faith.
· Based upon the Word of God.
· Offered in the Name of Christ.
· Caused by the Grace and Power of God the Holy Ghost.
In the day of trouble, spread your trouble before the Lord in prayer. Read Hezekiah’s prayer carefully and learn how to pray. He simply told God what his trouble was, praised God for his greatness and goodness, and asked God to do what he had promised. — “That all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only!”
Christ and His Church
4th — You cannot separate the Church of Christ from Christ himself. We are his body, “the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” And the Lord Jesus Christ rules the world for his church (Revelation 19:6-7).
(Revelation 19:1-7) And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: (2) For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. (3) And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. (4) And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. (5) And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. (6) And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (7) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
He who rules the universe counts our enemies his enemies and our friends his friends, and anything done to us as done to him (Matthew 25:40-45).
(Matthew 25:40-45) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (42) For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: (43) I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. (44) Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? (45) Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Hear God’s word concerning Sennacherib (vv. 21-29).
(Isaiah 37:21-29) Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria: (22) This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
· God’s elect are pure and chaste virgins in Christ.
· Our Father will never allow his virgin daughters to be raped by Satan.
· When all things are done, we shall laugh at all Satan’s devices and all our foes (Revelation 17, 18, 19).
(23) Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel. (24) By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord, and hast said, By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel. (25) I have digged, and drunk water; and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged places. —— Now God speaks! —— (26) Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps. (27) Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up. (28) But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. (29) Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
Hear God’s word concerning his people (vv. 30-35).
(Isaiah 37:30-35) And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof. (31) And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: (32) For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this. (33) Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. (34) By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. (35) For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.
· God counted Sennacherib’s reproach and rage against Hezekiah and Judah to be against himself (vv. 23, 28).
· The people Sennacherib opposed were the objects of God’s special care, a people he was determined to bless (vv. 22, 30-35).
The few that escaped out of the cities of Judah were a type of the remnant according to the election of grace.
· The few that are chosen of God,
· The special people redeemed by Christ’s precious blood,
· The little flock of his choice,
· The few who enter in at the strait gate and are saved.
By the blood of Christ and the power of his grace, they escape…
· the vengeance of divine justice,
· the curse of God’s righteous law,
· the wrath to come and the damnation of hell, the second death.
All this work of God in providence and grace springs from and is the result of the everlasting love and eternal purpose of God, the covenant of his grace, and the suretyship engagements of Christ, and his performance of them.
These chosen ones, God’s elect remnant, shall return to him and shall be firmly settled, and live peaceably and prosperously, abounding with all good things, taking root downward in the love of God, which is the source of salvation and all the blessings of it. Being born of God they shall take root downward in the purpose of God and bring forth and bear fruit upward by the power and grace of God the Holy Spirit.
· Sennacherib, the great enemy of Judah, had no power but what God had given him (vv. 24-29).
He could do nothing without God’s permission; and at God’s appointed time he would be cast down.
5th — The last lesson is a lesson about God’s judgment (vv. 36-38). — The judgment of God is sure.
· Always an act of Retribution (vv. 28-29 — “Because of thy rage against me.”).
· Done with ease (v. 29 — “I will put my hook in your nose!”).
· Accomplished in God’s time (vv. 36-38).
(Isaiah 37:36-38) Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. (37) So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. (38) And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
What became of Sennacherib, that blaspheming king who shook his fists in God’s face and dared to come against God’s people in the rage of persecution? The eye of the Lord followed him back to his palace at Nineveh. The finger of God pointed at him every step of the way. When he thought he was safe in the company of his own sons, in the house of his own god, the Lord God killed him with the swords of his own sons! — The wheels of justice grind slow; but they grind to powder. God will slay his enemies!
“Be not afraid” in the time of trouble. But…
· Worship God.
· Persevere in faith.
· Seek the Lord in prayer.
· Trust God’s providential care.
· Wait for God’s deliverance.
In the day of trouble, wait upon the Lord. Hezekiah left the house of God with God’s word in his heart. His circumstances had not changed. Sennacherib and his army were still there. But Hezekiah had God’s word; and he believed God! At God’s appointed time, the day of trouble was over. — In patience possess your soul and wait for God to perform his Word.
“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Peter 2:9).
(Isaiah 40:27-31) Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? (28) Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (29) He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (30) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: (31) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.