Isaiah- Week 7- Day 5

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. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

Isaiah 37:33-35

Explanation:
In yesterday’s verses we found out that God will take care of His people. He would sustain them in difficulty in response to Hezekiah’s prayer. In this passage He gives detail as to what he would allow Senacharib to do and why he would deal with him this way.

Senacharib would not be allowed to come into the city. He would not be able to shoot an arrow, come at it with shields, nor “cast a bank against it”. To cast a bank against it spoke of the practice of digging up dirt and making a ramp towards a wall to be able to go over it. God confirmed that Senacharib would go the way he came. He had already said this in a message to Senacharib in verse 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.

Isaiah 37:29

He also said why he would defend it. He was doing it for his own sake. God has reasons that he wants to defend Israel. He is also doing it for David’s sake. This is a reference to the Davidic covenant. God told David that his house would be established forever.

And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

2 Samuel 7:16

The ultimate fulfillment of this promise comes to bear when Christ sits on the throne in Jerusalem to rule and to reign. God keeps his promises.

Application:
We see in this passage that God was keeping his promise to Israel, to Hezekiah, to David, and ultimately to us. We know that God was working through redemptive history to bring about the salvation of not only Israel, but the whole world through the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God answers our prayers according to His will, and there is a sense in which prayer helps to align our will with God’s. We must pray as Jesus taught us, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When we pray according to God’s will and rely on His promises we cannot go wrong.

Response:
What do you need to pray about today? What would it look like to pray according to His will?

Isaiah- Week 7- Day 2

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. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, 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.

Isaiah 37:17-19

Explanation:
Notice how Hezekiah continues to pray. In verse 17 he asks God to pay attention to the words of Sennacherib (King of Assyria) which were a reproach to the character of God.
In verse 18 he lays out the problem. Assyria did have a history of the military conquests. He pointed to their practice of destroying the idols of their conquered enemies. This would have been a picture of their opinion of the weakness of these foreign Gods. But in verse 19, Hezekiah points to the fact that the gods do not exist. They are just the work of men’s hands and have no power. This is why they can be destroyed.

Hezekiah was displaying great faith by going to God. He saw his problem in light of the God creator God of the universe. He saw the situation in light of the reputation of God, the truth about God, and the truth about the false idols of the nations that had been destroyed by the Assyrians.

Application:
We saw in the scriptures previous to this that Hezekiah thought accurately about God Himself in His prayer to God. In this part of the prayer He thinks rightly about His problem. This is instructive to us. A right response includes thinking about our problems and our God with great faith.

Response:
Pick out a problem or trial that you are experiencing and ask: What is the biblical and right way to think about this problem?

Isaiah- Week 7- Day 1

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. And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, 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.

Isaiah 37:14-16

Explanation:
Hezekiah, the king of Judah, received a message from Senacharib, the king of Assyria. It was not a fun message. You can read the message in verses 10-13.

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. Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? 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? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?

Isaiah 37:10-13

Talk about throwing down the trash talk! Senacharib told Hezekiah not to believe that his God could do anything about the fact that he was coming. Senacharib laid out his victories over previous nations, kings, and “gods”, asking Hezekiah where those kings that thought that way ended up. The intent was that Hezekiah would attribute their fate to Judah in his mind. Senacharib was trying to get into his head.

Hezekiah was a good king and made a wise decision in response.

First, He took this message to Lord. Notice it says “and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the Lord, and spread it before the LORD.” When the message was bad, and the enemy was tough, he took the problem to God. He spread out the written letter against him “before the Lord.” Did God need to see it? Of course not. It seems more proper to view it as a way that Hezekiah was communicating his need to God.

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.

Second, He began His prayer with praise. He doesn’t start with how bad the problem seems to be. He starts with praising God’s superiority. Look at the names:

  • Lord of Hosts
  • God of Israel
  • that Dwellest with Cherubims
    -“God…of all the kingdoms of the earth”
    -“thou hast made heaven and earth”

It is clear that Hezekiah was praising God for His mighty power.

Application:
In our lives there are times where we face great challenges. So often we try to take them on ourselves, rather than taking them to God. He is our strength and the one who can do something about them. We have to remember who He is, and see Him as our greatest hope.

Response:

  • What problem do you need to “spread before the Lord” today?
  • Take some time to pray today.

Secrets of the Heart Proverbs Week 7- Day 3

The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.    Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. 

(Proverbs 14:10,13)

Explanation:
Remember that we are examining the verses that we are each day because of the text we are reading being a part of a chiasm.  Click here to read more about that if you missed it.  Today we are looking at verses 10 and 13.  Both of these verses speak about the heart of a person- the inner man, and make some interesting points.

Verse 10- The Privacy of the Heart. 

In verse 10, the author indicates that there are some emotions felt so deeply, like bitterness and joy, that they can only be fully accessed or fully felt by the individual.  No matter how clearly you speak, or how passionately you share what you feel, there is a part that cannot be felt by another person.

Verse 13- The Sorrow of the Heart.

We must take verse 13 as a possibility and even a probability and not necessarily as universally true.  The idea is that laughter and “mirth” are not always an indicator that everything is ok.  There are those who may be laughing or smiling on the outside, but internally are dealing with sorrow.  As in verse 10, there is the possibility that someone’s expressed feelings or demeanor do not disclose the totality of their emotional or intellectual state.  Again, this is particularly true with joy and sorrow.

Application:

The implications of these truths are profound.  We are all called to minister as believers.  We are told to feel something along with other people. 

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

(Rom 12:15)

Here are three implications that we must recognize:

1. Recognize the Uniqueness of a Person’s Grief or Joy

As we minister to people it is important to understand that each person’s grief and joy is unique to them.  We can sympathize with their pain, but we cannot know exactly what they are thinking or how they are feeling.  I have had the chance to walk with people through difficulty very similar to things that I have experienced, and this verse conveys to me that I must be careful about saying things like, “I know exactly how you feel”, or “I’ve been exactly where you are.”  A better alternative would be to say, “I can’t know exactly how you feel or what you’re thinking but I have endured something similar and this is my experience.”  There is a compassion in this.  We can sympathize with them while allowing them the room to express as best they can what they are dealing with so that we can minister to them well.

2.  Recognize that We Can Assume Wrongly about Another Person’s Emotional and Spiritual Health.

As this verse seems to relate, we could be laughing one moment and crying the next.  There are times where people look like everything is great.  They “put on a front.”  They smile and greet you.  You ask them how they are, a common greeting, and the answer will always be “Fine, thank you.”  And yet they may not be fine.  Not really. 

If this is true of others it can be true of ourselves.  We must recognize this reality and know that it is not healthy to isolate ourselves.  We must find people to share our thoughts and feelings with, and we must be a safe person in which others can confide.

3. Recognize that the only person who can perfectly know our hearts is Jesus Christ.

This is not explicit in this passage, but is known to be true in principle by the scriptures.  Consider these verses:

If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Psalm 44:20-21

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

Now you may read the previous two verses and think, “God knows and sees my heart?  That is not comforting.  I’ll just get in trouble.”  I share your sentiment, yet I would counsel the both of us with two thoughts.  First, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Knowing that God knows our hearts makes me want to make sure it is right before Him.  Secondly, the One who knows our hearts became one of us and died for our sins in our place.

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

(Heb 4:14-16)

We can trust the Lord with our hearts.  We can go to Him boldly and share with Him, the best we can, what we are feeling.  When we do we can trust that our hearts are understood beyond what our words are able to express.  He weeps with us.  He rejoices with us. 

This God who knows our hearts has promised to save us.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

(Rom 10:9-10)

He will cleanse our hearts and restore our joy when we ask.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

(Psalm 51:10,12)

Response:

  • Is there someone in your life that you need to rejoice with or with whom you should weep?
  • Is there a sin that you should confess to God today?
  • How is your prayer life?