Ben Jennings provides this weeks Lesson from Isaiah 37.  

Subject:  Trusting God

Central Theme:  Trusting God through Prayer

Objective Sentence:  We can trust God through prayer by observing four patterns experienced by Hezekiah.

Keyword:  Patterns

Pattern #1- Taking our problem to God. (v.14-15)

Pattern #2- Thinking rightly about God. (v.16-17)

Pattern #3- Thinking rightly about our problem. (v.18-20)

Pattern #4- Trusting in God’s answer. (v.30-35)

Introduction:

Connection:

  • Who is your go to person when it comes to seeking advice?
  • For some people it is a family member.
  • Maybe it’s a spiritual leader like a pastor or other church leader.
  • For some maybe it is google, youtube, and other places for social media.

Tension:

  • We all have a way of dealing with problems, and seeing ourselves through to a solution.
  • It certainly is wrong to get advice from others. The scripture makes it clear that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.
  • The danger comes when any of those sources of wisdom becomes a substitute for God Himself.
  • Believer’s ought to go to God for wisdom.
  • That includes knowing and obeying His Word.
  • Yet it also includes a life of prayer.
  • When difficulties and trials come do you go to God in prayer?
  •  

We can trust God through prayer by observing four patterns experienced by Hezekiah.

Pattern #1- Taking our problem to God. (v.14-15)

 

Isaiah 37:14-16 

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.  (15)  And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying,  

 

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.

 

(10) 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.  (11)  Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered?  (12)  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?  (13)  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. 
  • 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 this spreading of the letter before the Lord as a way that Hezekiah was communicating his need to God. 

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?

We can trust God through prayer by observing four patterns experienced by Hezekiah.

Pattern #1- Taking our problem to God. (v.14-15)

Pattern #2- Thinking rightly about God. (v.16-17)

 

 (16)  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.

 

  • Notice that He doesn’t start the prayer with how bad the problem seems to be. 
  • He starts with praising God’s superiority.  Look at the names:
    • “Lord of Hosts”- He is facing a military problem by calling on “the Lord of armies”.
    • “God of Israel”- He acknowledges that God owns His people. But unlike the other nations, His God is real.
    • “that Dwellest with Cherubims”- an acknowledge to His existence in the supernatural, spiritual realm.
    • “God…of all the kingdoms of the earth”- Unlike the other “gods”, Jehovah God had authority over Israel and every other nation.
    • “thou hast made heaven and earth”- The God of Israel was the True and living God, the creator of everything.
  • It is clear from these statements that Hezekiah had an accurate view of God. He saw God as real, big, and powerful.  His problem was small because His God was big.

Application:

  • So it ought to be with us.
  • When we face big problems we must go to God.
  • We must remember that God is a big God who is capable of doing what is best for us.

 

We can trust God through prayer by observing three patterns found experienced by Hezekiah.

Pattern #1- Taking our problem to God. (v.14-15)

Pattern #2- Thinking rightly about God. (v.16-17)

Pattern #3- Thinking rightly about our problem. (v.18-20)

 

(17)  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.  (18)  Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries,  (19)  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.

 

Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.  (Isaiah 37:20)

 

Explanation:

  • Hezekiah had contrasted the false gods of the conquered nations to the True and living God of Judah. 
  • He appeals to God to help them conquest to show the Assyrians that Jehovah God is not like those other gods. 
  • Senacharib may think that Jehovah God can be thrown in the fire. Hezekiah knows better, and wants all the nations of the earth to know better as well.
  • Hezekiah makes his concern God’s fame as the reason for which God should spare them from the Assyrians. 
  • He boldly prays to God, knowing that God is his hope against the Assyrians.
  • When he says “even though only” He speaks to the fact that God is really their only hope. In Hezekiah’s mind Jehovah God is not just their best chance.  He is their only chance.

 

Application:

  • When we encounter difficulty, we must remember that the difficulty can be a platform for God to be made known. 
  • Difficulty can reveal our character and values. 
  • When we think accurately about God and our problem, we will respond in a way that honors God and makes a difference for eternity.

We can trust God through prayer by observing four patterns experienced by Hezekiah.

 

Pattern #1- Taking our problem to God. (v.14-15)

Pattern #2- Thinking rightly about God. (v.16-17)

Pattern #3- Thinking rightly about our problem. (v.18-20)

Pattern #4- Trusting in God’s answer. (v.30-35)

 

(30) And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.  (31)  And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:  (32)  For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.  (Isaiah 37:30-32)

 

Explanation:

  • God responds through Isaiah by giving Hezekiah a sign. 
  • He tells him that he would not be able to do agriculture for two years. 
    • In the first year they will eat what is growing wild and it will be enough to sustain them. 
    • In the second year they will only eat what came as a result of the first years growth. 
    • In the third year he was told he’d be able to plant, grow and harvest and eat.
  • He was also told that the remnant of Judah will take root.  They will be sustained in the land. 
  • Senacharib would not be able to destroy the children of Israel.  Why?  Because God is on their side. “The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.”

 

Application:

  • God does often respond to our prayers when we pray according to His will. 
  • God made it clear that he will protect his people.
  • God can be trusted.
  • But what will happen to Senacharib?

(33)  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.  (34)  By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD.  (35)  For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

 

Explanation:

  • In verses 30-32 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.
  • We see what happens to Senacharib at the end of chapter 37.

Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.  (37)  So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.  (38)  And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.  (Isaiah 37:36-38)

 

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?

 

Conclusion:

We can trust God through prayer by observing four patterns experienced by Hezekiah.

 

Pattern #1- Taking our problem to God. (v.14-15)

Pattern #2- Thinking rightly about God. (v.16-17)

Pattern #3- Thinking rightly about our problem. (v.18-20)

Pattern #4- Trusting in God’s answer. (v.30-35)

 

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