Isaiah 36-38, Psalm 117
We should ask ourselves whether we put our full trust in God. It is so easy to trust more in ourselves, others or things. When Lot and his family were fleeing Sodom, despite being led out by an angel, Lot’s wife turned around to look at the city she truly loved and trusted in and turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). When Peter walked on the water in Matthew 14:28-32, as long as his eyes and trust were on Jesus he walked, as soon as he took his eyes off and focused on the wind and water, he sank. If Jesus came for you today and you began to ascend into heaven, would you maintain your eyes on Him and heaven, or would you crane your neck backward to longingly get one more glimpse of your spouse, your children, your house, etc. Though these things are good, if they are loved more than God they are an idol. In Luke 14:26, Jesus says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple”. The word hate in the preceding verse means more accurately to love less, that our love for Him is supreme above all others. Trusting Him first and foremost is what is necessary to be a true disciple.
We see in today’s reading that King Hezekiah and the nation of Judah finally put all of their trust in God alone. Prior to this confrontation with the Assyrians they attempted to secure their safety by giving the Assyrians the gold and silver from their temple. When this didn’t work, they reached out to Egypt as an ally to assist them. Now they find themselves in an impossible situation and they put all of their trust in God. You see the trust that Hezekiah placed in God in Isaiah 37:14-15,20, “And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying:…Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord, You alone.” In addition to Hezekiah, we see this same trustful response on the part of the leaders in response to the threats stated by the Rabshakeh sent by the king of Assyria in Isaiah 36:21, “But they held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, “Do not answer him.”
Jesus demonstrated this same response fully trusting in His Father when He was accused before the Sanhedrin. Despite being falsely accused and lied about before the mock trial He remained silent, as prophesied in Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” As we continue in our readings may we put away those things that distract us, and as it says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” When confronted with difficulties and evil, may we resist the natural inclination to fight back in our strength and instead learn to lean on Him, the One with the strength to overcome any and every obstacle.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: