Monthly Archives: May 2019

God’s Patient Delay

He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar. ) (Genesis 19:21-22)

Before the Lord rained down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot was told to flee. The angel told him he was unable to do anything until he reached the town a little ways off.

Yet we must see how this also is significant for our modern lives as believers!

The Apostle Peter explains:

By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:7-16)

God is waiting till all who will respond to His invitation of the Gospel will. There is a good reason Christ has not returned yet, it is a chance for people to repent of their sins and trust Him for the forgiveness of their sins.

God’s delay means salvation. God’s delay is His merciful long-suffering giving people a chance. There will be judgement, and till that comes, there is hope for those who will respond and receive Christ as Savior and Lord!

Shemei Under House Arrest

Shimei Under House Arrest. (Importance Of Forgiveness)

 When king Solomon succeeded his father David, he found a man by the name of Shimei who in 2 Samuel 16:5-14 was cursing king David in his flight from Absolom. 

Solomon decides not to execute Shemei but gave him an order

Then the king sent for Shimei and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but do not go anywhere else. The day you leave and cross the Kidron Valley, you can be sure you will die; your blood will be on your own head.” Shimei answered the king, “What you say is good. Your servant will do as my lord the king has said.” And Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time.1 Kings 2:36-38 – 
After a span of time though Shemei’s slave runs away and he goes after him. Shemei finds his slave and brings him back with him, yet when Solomon finds out, he is displeased.

When Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned, the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord and warn you, ‘On the day you leave to go anywhere else, you can be sure you will die’? At that time you said to me, ‘What you say is good. I will obey.’ Why then did you not keep your oath to the Lord and obey the command I gave you?” The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your heart all the wrong you did to my father David. Now the Lord will repay you for your wrongdoing. But King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain secure before the Lord forever.” 1 Kings 2:41-45 – 

As a result Solomon has Shemei put to death. 

Yet we may be tempted to think a story like this is inapplicable for us today, after all we do not have slaves and we don’t have a king in the country. Yet let’s ask some questions,

Considering Shemei was spared death, why was he so eager to go after his run away slave endangering his own life?
Jesus told a parable about a man who owed the king an enormous debt and was unable to repay it when he taught his disciples about forgiveness:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.Matthew 18:21-27 – 

The man relieved, goes off, but then does the unthinkable:

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 

This seems outrageous! Jesus concluded:

31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:28-35)

Both stories from Old Testament and the New have a similar theme! Shemei in the Old Testament story was shown mercy from Solomon after he had earlier on cursed David the king. The New testament story shows the king pardoning a hefty debt. In a way we all have sinned and cursed God and racked up a heavy debt of sin we can never repay. 
Because of the Son, we have received mercy and forgiveness of our sin. 

Therefore, we must stay put when it comes to them that wrong us and let the Lord do what He decides with people. This obviously requires we trust God but not only this, we must realize how deep the mercy He has given us goes.
That is why we are called to forgive each other from the heart. Because of Christ, God is not holding our sins against us, and we should not keep people slaves of our bitterness either. To truly understand the mercy of God is what it takes to enable us to reflect this mercy.

We can trust God to be judge and let go of whatever bitterness we are holding onto. It’s only fair really, considering that we have been forgiven so much!

Last Call

Pharaoh Ramesses I, in Exodus, commanded that all the male babies born of the Hebrews be cast into the Nile. 

Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” (Exodus 1:22)

The ironic twist happens after he is succeeded by his son Ramasses II who is drowned in the Red Sea.

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go.Exodus 9:16-17 – 
Pharaoh’s father had no problem predestining babies born and considered himself sovereign to choose who could live or die. Yet God retained sovereignty and did the same by drowning his son Ramesses II in the Red Sea.

People talk about “choice” often, and God’s choice was Pharaoh was going to die. Yet we see Pharaoh had some opportunities seemingly before God started to harden his heart.

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:15)

Strike one!

But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go. Exodus 8:32 – 

Strike two!

But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses. Exodus 9:12 – 

Game over!

What we must understand is God it appears gave Pharaoh opportunities to humble himself and obey. Pharaoh though kept on rebelling and refused to listen and his heart grew harder and harder. 

The Bible warn those who have not received the message to turn to Christ won’t have endless opportunities to do so,

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:7-15)

Pharaoh did this, and later the generation of Israelites that spent forty years in the desert died in unbelief and their children entered the good land instead.

If one hears the good news about Christ Jesus, and if they never end up receiving the offer of grace but constantly reject it will eventually run out of opportunity.
When we come to the realization we are sinners and need salvation from the mess we are in, we ought to respond in faith and

But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:8-15)

“God Bless America”?

Many today in our nation casually throw around the expression “God bless America,” and as we all are aware many people who take an anti religious stance and hate the expression- indeed God’s blessing is reserved for those who love him and belong to Him, so those who hate mention of him don’t have to worry about Him blessing them anyways.

Yet we must be certain if we say “God bless America” let us examine how we live toward Him lest He say

But to the wicked person, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you. “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation. ” (Psalm 50:16-23)

Yet to the people here in this country or any nation for that matter, that do love God and follow Jesus Christ, we can hear the words:

Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done. (Isaiah 3:10-11)

And apart from Jesus Christ taking away our sin we are not under the blessing of God but under His wrath
If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord! (1 Corinthians 16:22)

Regardless of what we say or try to do, the only atonement for our sin is to receive Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. He has tasted God’s anger toward sin so we can have mercy, and to reject that is to opt for paying the price for one’s own sin. That debt can not be repaid but will take eternity to pay for it away from the presence of God.

Does God love people? Yes! And if he had no love for people he would not even considered making a way for anyone to be able to be forgiven of sin.

Love The Giver, Not Just His Gifts

If you got a necklace for your wife or gf- how would you feel if she fell more in love with the necklace then you?
When God blesses us with good, let’s not forget the heart of the giver and get too caught up on the gift.

God’s greatest blessings are double blessings in the sense it should help us see His character and provision just as much as enjoying what has been supplied!

What is worse then forgetting God who graciously gives good things? Using what we possess or have been blessed with to do wrong,

“‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. You went to him, and he possessed your beauty. You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them. And you took your embroidered clothes to put on them, and you offered my oil and incense before them. Also the food I provided for you—the flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat—you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign Lord. “‘And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols. (Ezekiel 16:15-21)

Yet so often many enjoy God’s kindness and never realize He blessed them even as they refuse to acknowledge Him.
Will you keep to the old path that the wicked have trod? They were carried off before their time, their foundations washed away by a flood. They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’ Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. The righteous see their ruin and rejoice; the innocent mock them, saying, ‘Surely our foes are destroyed, and fire devours their wealth.’ (Job 22:15-20)

We must understand

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?(Romans 2:4)

Yet there will always be some who never realize it, and as it says,
But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord. (Isaiah 26:10)

The Gospel is good news and God’s goodness to us should lead us to Him. If one never comes to this blessing, no amount of earthly success, beauty or blessing can ever compensate the loss of one’s soul!

The Divine Nature Of Jesus

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)

See what this disciple says. Many today claim that Jesus never actually claimed He was God, but only God’s Son. Yet we can see He was both. 

The Jews in Jesus’s time who well knew that the Old Testament says “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”

Yet what happened in the John 8 was the Jews saw what Jesus was saying about who He was as blasphemy and tried to stone Him

Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:53-59)

Obviously they knew exactly what claims Jesus made of His divinity. There was not doubt in their minds what He was claiming. None whatsoever.

The disciple Thomas whom Jesus appears to, says “My Lord and my God”
Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Matthew 28:9 – 
Notice, “They worshiped Him”

These Jewish men who knew the Law of Moses which said
“You shall have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:3 – and this is also repeated in 

Deuteronomy 5:7
So obviously if Jesus was not God, these men were bowing to another god. Yet we who have received Christ know that,
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

Colossians 2:9 – 
Sure God still existed in Heaven, yet He walked in human form on earth. The Spirit of God living through the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, who walked among the very people He spoke to in the book Jeremiah saying “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

(Malachi 3:1)
Whom was the messenger sent before the Lord? Who was he?
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” (Matthew 2:1-3)

Malachi written around 400 years earlier predicts the arrival of John the baptist to preach in preparation for The Lord’s arrival.

Yet far back in the time of Moses, Moses prophesied about the days of Christ, saying

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)

God’s holiness among the people in Moses’s time was fearful and awestriking. So much so that they were terrified to hear the thunderous voice from the mountain.

God warned Moses not to let the people approach Him just carelessly, or without authorization.

Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”

Exodus 19:12-13 – 
Yet Jesus Christ is God coming to our level to walk among mankind and offer unto God a sacrifice that can enable us to approach God without fear and dread
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken —that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:18-29 – 
To approach God without Christ is to forget how Holy He is, and how dreadful our sin is.

Up until Jesus came into the world, the only thing that could grant some access to God’s presence was a sacrificial system so He could overlook sin through the centuries to follow, so he could preserve a race of people for Himself to whom He would bring the Messiah.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Yet the Jews of old, Israel had to be preserved some way- so God could unfold His redemptive plan that He had in mind before the foundation of time
in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,

(Titus 1:2-3)
When reading the New Testament book of the letter of Hebrews, we must realize this was a predominantly Jewish audience whom it was written. Jews that had believed in Jesus Christ.
The book of Hebrews is a difficult book to unpack. To read it, it is very helpful to understand the Old Testament. The author of Hebrews borrows much illustration from the Old Testament to explain many things to Jewish coverts to Jesus Christ.
For us who were not Jewish from the start, but what would be referred to as Gentiles, if we lived in these times. A book such as Hebrews may be harder to understand without some knowledge of the Old Testament.
The good news of the Gospel though is Christ Jesus came to save not just His people Israel from sin, but has made salvation possible for the rest of the world (Those who will turn to Him and believe the news He brought.)
God is not choosing favorites but will forgive anyone from any nation or nationality or upbringing that turns to Christ Jesus by faith!

Psalm 34:17-22 Sermon, Taking Refuge In The Lord.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.(Psalm 34:17-22)

See then that the righteous cry out, to whom? They call out to the Lord. Then it says “and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” 
Yet notice, the righteous turn to the Lord in their distress. Yet often the wicked would not!

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless person would dare come before him! (Job 13:15-16)

The godless heart may neither believe God to exist, and if he or she did, be terrified to even draw close to God. For the sinner lives in fearful gloom at the thought of the Lord God. Their consciences accuses them before their maker on high. Through lack of knowledge or outright hostility toward God, they may shrink away in fear or vaunt their rage toward the heavens when calamity strikes. 

For they know the darkness, they know their sin, they often cling to their pride and refuse to humble themselves before He who sits on the throne. If they did, they would find Him to be beautiful in mercy and great in compassion toward even them! Yet what greater sin is their then pride and idolatry? These keep them bound in the shackles of the dark prince.
Instead, the wicked turn to self, or the arm of the proud. They may devise and scheme to find deliverance from the day of woe. They may seek false predictions to ease their fearful hearts. 

When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.(Isaiah 8:19-22)

That is, if they find no faith to approach God to humble themselves, and receive His great mercy. Jesus came gently to save sinners. “Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

(Luke 5:31-32)
Yet unbelief may trap such a fellow in his or her destructive way, fearing the Lord may brandish against them a club to drive them away! Yet behold, the Psalm says
“The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”

So then if a sinner, aware of their desperate plight comes to their senses and flees to the Lord hoping for His mercy and aid,

37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37)

Jesus welcomes all who will run to Him and take refuge in him. In essence, to take refuge in the Lord, from the anger of the Lord, means salvation and mercy for even the most guilty soul. 

Before this we read, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.”

Yet the broken hearted sinner who is wicked, yet grieves with heavy heart, will not the Lord graciously also pardon them, if they seek refuge in Him? Certainly this is the Gospel! “No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”

Now about the believer, saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, the Psalm forewarns “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”
Yet our precious Savior and Lord also speaks this cheering word,

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

The Devil Does Not Part With His Prey To Easily.

Often when one resolves to wholeheartedly follow Christ and the Lord God, it is not some easy passage toward the Heavenly Kingdom. 
Though the good news is, we won’t be left without the aid of Omnipotence! Yet there is a sore battle along the way. When king Hezekiah began to purify the land and seek the Lord whole heartedly, he sometime later was faced with a very formidable foe. Sennacherib, king of Assyria marched out and made his presence known. 

The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: “‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have counsel and might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? (Isaiah 36:4-5)

The field commander under Sennacherib then went on to insult God and say it was no use to trust in the Lord God, because no god of any other nation was able to deliver them.
“Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own —a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. “Do not let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Have the gods of any nations ever delivered their lands from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? Who of all the gods of these countries have been able to save their lands from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” (Isaiah 36:16-21)

Sennacherib was only a man made of flesh and blood. He does though depict Satan in a sense, and uses a strategy to first cast doubt and offer a empty promise.

First Sennacherib boasts in insolence against God and rages out the pride of his own heart. Then he uses fear and tempts them to surrender by offering to bring them into a good land. 

“Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own —a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.”

Jesus while he was tempted in the wilderness for forty days by the devil, was offered several tempting alternatives. One was “All this will I give to you, if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus does not reason with the devil any more then Hezekiah tries to reason with Sennacherib. Jesus merely quotes the word of God and defeats the devil, three recorded occasions.

See how Hezekiah also says: “But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” 

We cannot argue with the devil. The Wird of God though can disarm the devil. Also, praying to the Lord of heaven is another way to deal with temptation as well as a crisis.

We see how Hezekiah responds:
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “ Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord , and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God. ”

Isaiah 37:14-20 – 
There are some noteworthy elements to Hezekiah’s prayer. We should learn from how he approaches God in prayer.
 • His prayer magnified God’s power and position as the One on the throne of heaven.

 • Hezekiah acknowledges there is a very real threat. He neither shrinks the problem but acknowledges it is serious.
This is important especially when we are struggling with some problem of sin we want to overcome. We should be honest to God that we know it is very serious and not justify it. We must own a struggle that threatens to sink us and seek God’s delivering power! Often we may feel fear that if we are honest and straightforward about a struggle with sin, we may be all the more afraid if we come to grips there is something serious going on! Yet, God is more then able to grant the honest heart who intercedes what is needed to overcome!

 • Hezekiah’s prayer also upheld God’s glory in the petition. His prayer sought God be glorified through the deliverance He would bring!

Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father, who is heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

We see eventually God does respond and Isaiah the prophet comes and says, “Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, (Isaiah 37:21)

I find it fascinating the language God uses, he says “Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria.”

God does not say “I heard your prayer about Sennacherib” but seems to suggest a lesson on prayer. The Apostle James says of unanswered prayer: “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

(James 4:2-3)
We see though Hezekiah’s prayer benefited both himself and the people greatly, it was not just about himself. God’s glory was in mind and the character of God was on the line. Sennacherib was boasting against God.
God eventually says “this is the word the Lord has spoken against him: “Virgin Daughter Zion despises and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have ridiculed the Lord. And you have said, ‘With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its junipers. I have reached its remotest heights, the finest of its forests. I have dug wells in foreign lands and drunk the water there. With the soles of my feet I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.’ “Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone. Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up. “But I know where you are and when you come and go and how you rage against me. Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came. (Isaiah 37:22-29)

As a result, “Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king. (Isaiah 37:36-38)

As we see throughout Scripture in many place, God is very interested in defending His glory and name. God is very keenly interested in His honor and reputation, and rightfully so. He is not selfish in doing so. He knows we need Him far more then we could ever realize. If we fail to esteem Him in His glory, we will suffer more so then He. He needs nothing we can provide Him and is entirely self sustaining, but it is for our good we learn to esteem Him as rightful King.

As Paul preached to a crowd of people on the book of Acts and said:
 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

(Acts 17:24-31)
We need God, he does not need us. He desires us, even before we desired Him. 
The only thing we can give to God is what he desires, but he does not need- he wants our love and loyalty in response to His kindness and goodness. This is the only thing of value he sees we could ever offer. He wants our hearts!