Isaiah 36-38, Psalm 117
Philosophies change through the years. Those from the past appear ignorant to us now who consider ourselves more sophisticated. In the days of Isaiah only the Jewish people followed Yahweh, everyone else followed a religion which worshiped a specific local god or gods. These gods would often be specific for a problem: if you desired pregnancy, then you worshiped the fertility goddess; if you wanted good crops, why not worship the storm gods; etc. These gods were either useless pieces of wood or metal; or demonically empowered. To our current generation this might seem superstitious or ignorant at best. But the current philosophy, which is just as popular, and to most seems open-minded and makes sense is: "All roads lead to the same god". Stated another way, it doesn't matter which religion you adhere to, or what god you worship, as long as you're basically a good person then we all worship the same god. In fact, when we state that our God is the One True God it sounds close-minded and ignorant to the morally relativistic society that we now live in.
The Rabshakeh or Commander in Chief of the Assyrian army makes a fatal flaw in his argument to the people of Judah. It is obvious that the strength and power of the tiny nation of Judah was laughable compared to that of the Assyrian forces outside the walls of Jerusalem. Much of what he was saying to demoralize those inside the city of Jerusalem detailed this inequity. He made a serious mistake when he decided to blaspheme God. We read in Isaiah 36:15, "nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord saying: "The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the of the king of Assyria." He goes on further with this line of blasphemy in 36:18-20, "Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, "The Lord will deliver us." Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?" This logic makes perfect sense when one is comparing one false god to another. This logic proves illogical when one is comparing any false deity to the One True God. When Hezekiah brings the matter before God in prayer, notice his concluding remark in 37:20, "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."
Like Hezekiah, our primary purpose in prayer and in life should be to glorify God, not ourselves. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." We also, must never fall into the popular philosophy that all roads lead to the same God. Though most like to focus on the commandments like, "You shall not murder", the first and greatest commandment as recorded in Exodus 20:3 is, "You shall have no other gods before Me." When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment, He responded in Matthew 22:37-38, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment." So we should boldly proclaim that we follow the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and His Son, Jesus Christ. This position does not need to be popular. It wasn't then and it is not now. We should not allow political correctness or philosophical arguments to sway us from this position. Our stance should never be to gain popularity but to point all eyes to the only One with the power to save and transform their lives. May we be vigilant with this message to a world who largely does not know Him.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: