September 21, 2021

Isaiah 37:1–38:22

King Hezekiah heard the words of the Rabshakeh, the ambassador of the king of Assyria, how he blasphemed the LORD and intended to slay God’s people. King Hezekiah therefore tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the House of the LORD to seek Him wholeheartedly. Hezekiah also sent word to the prophet Isaiah, perhaps the LORD would have mercy upon them and against all human odds, deliver Jerusalem from the Assyrian army.

Isaiah sent word back to the king, “Do not be afraid,” their enemy would return to his own land and die by the sword.

Rabshakeh sent a letter to Hezekiah – not to be deceived by this hiccup in his plan to conquer Jerusalem. Rabshakeh vigorously attacked the faith of God’s people.

Isaiah 37:10 (NKJV) “Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, ‘Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’’”

When Hezekiah received the letter he read it, and spread it out before the LORD for Him to read as well. Then Hezekiah prayed, acknowledging God as the one and only God, the Maker of heaven and earth. The only reason the other nations weren’t able to stand against Assyria is because their gods were not gods at all, they were the work of men. We then read the marvelous motive behind his prayer:

Isaiah 37:20 (NKJV) “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.”

Isaiah then sent word to Hezekiah with an important message, “Because you have prayed…” (Isaiah 37:21)

Because King Hezekiah prayed, God would send an angel, some say it was Jesus – the Angel of the LORD…to wipe out 185,000 Assyrians.

They had blasphemed God. They had rage against Him, so God defended this city, He saved it…because their king had prayed.

What if Hezekiah had never prayed? What if he didn’t pray passionately, covering himself with sackcloth, spreading the matter before the LORD? I’ve always been challenged by this story, “Because you prayed…” May we be moved and motivated to pray for the protection and salvation of the people, the way Hezekiah prayed. I like the way he even asked Isaiah to join him in prayer (Isaiah 37:4).

Hezekiah prayed for the nation – he also prayed for himself. In Isaiah 38 we have the account of King Hezekiah’s appointed death. Isaiah came to him and told him to set his house in order, he was going to die. The king prayed and wept, he pleaded with the LORD who answered by granting him and extra fifteen years of life.

There’s debate among Christian circles as to whether or not this was a good thing (an extension of life). Some say it wasn’t good because it was during this time that Manasseh was born. Others say it was good because it seems to be something that took place during the whole Assyrian invasion, which is why we read:

Isaiah 38:5–6 (NKJV) “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years. 6 I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.” ’

If Hezekiah had died then, would Jerusalem have been delivered without their key intercessor? Today I lean towards the latter view. It’s okay to pray for more time and leave the results in God’s sovereign hands. He knows what’s best and will answer according to His will (1 John 5:14).

Keep looking up my friend (Isaiah 38:14) for God will hear, God will speak, and God will do (Isaiah 38:15). Isn’t it encouraging to know that as we cast ourselves upon the mercy of the Lord, He is gracious and willing to cast all our sins behind His back! (Isaiah 38:17)

Galatians 6:1-18

I often quote Galatians 6:1-2 when I meet with someone after they’ve fallen. If the one who has strayed is repentant and open to restoration, we need to gently, Biblically, and humbly help them. We as friends and “counselors” are not anyone special, and were it not for the grace of God, I could just as easily have done the same thing a fallen brother has done.

But certain situations are too much for a person to bear alone, and we need to show our love for them, by bearing it with them.

I like the way the NLT translates:

Galatians 6:3, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”

Galatians 6:3-4 teaches us that there are those times (works) that we are solely and personally responsible for; wise and Spirit-led is the person who knows the difference.

As a teacher I would encourage you to pray for your teachers (Galatians 6:6) encourage them in the Lord.

It’s important to realize that every day we are “sowing seeds,” every day we are making an investment, either to our fleshly life or to our spiritual life. We must not deceive ourselves into thinking that we can sow to the flesh (take in and practice sin) without it affecting us. The law of the Lord is that whatever you plant will eventually grow, and we will reap that harvest, whether good or bad.

If it’s bad seed, don’t be deceived, and if it’s good seed, don’t be discouraged. I love what Sandy Adams said on this, “Just remember you never reap in the same season you sow. Whether you have sown good seed or bad, there is always a waiting period before your crop, crops up. If you are sowing bad seed the delay can deceive. If you are sowing good seed the delay can discourage. Do not grow weary in doing good! God will fulfill His promise! You be patient and persistent.”

Let us do good to all, especially the brethren (Galatians 6:10) take advantage of those “opportunities.”

As Paul closes the letter he personally pens it himself with big letters (that may indicate he had an eye problem). But he goes back to his primary premise and that is for the Galatians to stay away from false teachers who taught salvation or sanctification through circumcision. These imposters were only trying to avoid persecution; they were not of the Lord or of His gospel, they were just another one of those so called “ministers” who likes to boast in numbers, or his own accomplishments.

Paul’s only boast in all of life was the cross where Jesus died for all of his sins. The blood of Christ was/is enough! “Nothing in my hand I bring, only to Thy cross I cling!” Paul let go of his grip on religion (the world) and therefore the world lost its grip on him. The people who hold to the pure gospel will experience peace and mercy, they are the ones who belong to God (Galatians 6:16). May we be minsters who have the “marks” Paul had – service to the point of sacrifice and suffering…what a sermon he was (Galatians 6:17).

Psalm 65:1-13

I like the way Warren Wiersbe outlines this Psalm: the Worship goes up, the Witness goes out, and the Wealth comes down. “This is a harvest Psalm for believers who want to thank God for His goodness and care during another year.”

We also thank Him for His grace in the way He deals with us personally. I praise Him for what we read in v. 3:

Psalm 65:3 (NKJV) “Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them.”

Have you ever been there? I know I have, when I feel like I’m losing the battle, I stumble, I fall, I fail the Lord at times. I’m eternally grateful for the atonement, and how Jesus really does wash away my sins. (1 John 1:8-9)

I also thank God for the way He stills the storms. He does it literally (Psalm 65:7 – Jesus did it as a demonstration of His deity – Matthew 8:26). But He also does it spiritually, God stills the storm within me and all around me.

Thank You Lord, I give You all of my praise.

Proverbs 23:24

Proverbs 23:24 (NKJV) “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.”

Or as the New Living Translation puts it:

Proverbs 23:24 (NLT) “The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise.”

John the Beloved tells us there’s no greater joy in all the world then when our children walk in truth (3 John 4). We want our children to be saved and sanctified – it’s the deepest longing for any Christian parent.

May God grant us grace and wisdom as parents on how we can do our part to raise our children in the ways of the Lord.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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