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Wednesday, July 26 2023

Contributor: Esther Alajiki

Hezekiah was the first king since David to keep the Lord's commandments, He restored right worship for the people, and the honor of God as the True God. But in this chapter, we learn that he became gravely ill and was at the point of death and God had decided that He would use the situation to call him home. But Hezekiah appealed to the Lord, he called on the Lord to remember his service onto Him. Philippians 4:18c implies that our faithful services are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. Exodus 23:25 tells us that when we serve the Lord, He will bless our bread and water and take sickness away from our midst. Cornelius’s account in Acts 10:1-4 tells us that service rendered to God goes up to Him as a memorial and in today’s study which is in two parts, we see that within the confines of God’s prerogative, we can “cash in on it” just like Hezekiah did.

PART 1 VERSE DISCUSSION (Isaiah 38 Amplified Bible (1 – 9) Message Bible (9 – 22).)

Verse 1: God Speaks to His Children
In those days Hezekiah [king of Judah] became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him and said, “For the LORD says this, ‘Set your house in order and prepare a will, for you shall die; you will not live.’ (2 Kings 20:1-11)

God sent His prophet to Hezekiah. He sends His word to His children, we are not to walk in darkness concerning any area of our lives. from comparing 2 Kings 18:2 with 2 Kings 20:6, Hezekiah was around 39/40 years old when he got his death sentence.

Verses 2 -3: Be Honest With God
“Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, (3) and said, “Please, O LORD, just remember how I have walked before You in faithfulness and truth, and with a whole heart [absolutely devoted to You], and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept greatly.”

He did not hold on to the prophet to seek solution. When faced with difficult situations, what do we do? Hezekiah had trusted God to deliver His people from an invading army but his personal situation was overwhelming for him. When trouble comes, instead of blaming God in frustration be honest with God. Trust for divine intervention.

Verses 4 – 6: God Answers His Children
“Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, (5)“Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘For the LORD, the God of David your father says this, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; listen carefully, I will add fifteen years to your life. (6) I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city [Jerusalem].”

God re-sends His prophet back to Hezekiah. God delivered on a personal and a national level. He gave 2 gifts to Hezekiah - an extended life and knowing how many years’ left

Verses 7 – 8: God Can Alter the Natural Course of Nature
“This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that He has spoken: (8) Listen carefully, I will turn the shadow on the stairway [denoting the time of day] ten steps backward, the shadow on the stairway (sundial) of Ahaz.” And the sunlight went ten steps backward on the stairway where it had [previously] gone down.”

Did God make the earth go back in its orbit? Did He spin the earth backwards while still keeping gravity intact? Do not focus on rationalizing how God would perform miracles, recognize and celebrate His power and interventions. You may not know how, you may not know when but He’ll do it again.

Verses 9 – 15: Honesty and Simplicity in God’s Presence
“This is what Hezekiah king of Judah wrote after he’d been sick and then recovered from his sickness “In the very prime of life I have to leave. Whatever time I have left is spent in death’s waiting room. No more glimpses of God in the land of the living, No more meetings with my neighbours, no more rubbing shoulders with friends. This body I inhabit is taken down and packed away like a camper’s tent. Like a weaver, I’ve rolled up the carpet of my life as God cuts me free of the loom And at day’s end sweeps up the scraps and pieces. I cry for help until morning. Like a lion, God pummels and pounds me, relentlessly finishing me off. I squawk like a doomed hen, moan like a dove. My eyes ache from looking up for help: “Master, I’m in trouble! Get me out of this!” But what’s the use? God himself gave me the word. He’s done it to me. I can’t sleep— I’m that upset, that troubled.” [MSG]

Hezekiah expressed himself as he felt- no fancy words. He was grieved and expressed his grief to God.

Verses 16 – 20: Always Give God the Glory
“O Master, these are the conditions in which people live, and yes, in these very conditions my spirit is still alive— fully recovered with a fresh infusion of life! It seems it was good for me to go through all those troubles. Throughout them all you held tight to my lifeline. You never let me tumble over the edge into nothing. But my sins you let go of, threw them over your shoulder—good riddance! The dead don’t thank you, and choirs don’t sing praises from the morgue. Those buried six feet under don’t witness to your faithful ways. It’s the living—live men, live women—who thank you, just as I’m doing right now. Parents give their children full reports on your faithful ways. God saves and will save me. As fiddles and mandolins strike up the tunes, We’ll sing, oh we’ll sing, sing, for the rest of our lives in the Sanctuary of God.”

In response to God’s miracle, Hezekiah writes a song of praise, give Him praise for His daily mercies, Let God and others know how thankful you are. Shifted to the correct perspective of his illness, Hezekiah writes that his sins had caused his bitterness, not God. The Lord is interested in life and healing as the dead cannot be a witness of a living God and one of the privileges of man is to praise God while on earth. Hezekiah promised to praise God and teach the next generation about Him. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

Verses 21 - 22
“Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and put it on the boil so he may recover.” Hezekiah had said, “What is my cue that it’s all right to enter again the Sanctuary of God?”
The Lord already knew the remedy, and He provided a sign to Hezekiah because the king had wanted proof that Isaiah spoke truthfully.

A Need for Prayer - When Hezekiah received his sentence, he had no heir. He chose to appeal to God in prayer. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James. 5:15-16). For us could be a situation or a challenge. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

A Heart of Prayer - Notice the heart Hezekiah exhibited when he prayed. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, he poured his heart out to the Lord. Prayer that truly touches the heart of God and changes things comes from a heart that is passionately dependent on God. Luke 22:42 yet not my will, but yours be done.”

An Answer to Prayer - God delights in answering the fervent prayers of the righteous - Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7) If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

A response to answered prayer – thankfulness in receiving, faithfulness in stewarding, humility in responding. Psalm 34.

Hezekiah knew when to “turn his face to the wall” and pray to the Lord. He knew God well enough to hold on to Him and appeal to God’s justice and mercy, and present his case before the throne. Whenever we face whatever we deem to be the greatest challenge, the deepest valley, an impossible situation of life, seemingly hard and impenetrable walls we must turn to God. God heard Hezekiah’s cry, changed his death sentence, and added fifteen years to his life! Furthermore, God responded to Hezekiah beyond what he actually prayed for. This is a reminder of Ephesians 3:20: Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or think. God even set aside the astronomical laws to give a sign to Hezekiah!
In the face of unpleasant circumstances, you can “turn your face to the wall” and get through to God boldly and without shame, because you are anchored in His love, His word, and His blood bought redemption! God is ready to pour out His compassion, ready to bare His strong arm of deliverance in response to your prayer and loves praise in response to His goodness.

“14Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Saviour]. 15For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. 16Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment]”. Heb. 4: 14 -16. [AMP]

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 19 2023

Contributor: Peter Folikwe

Assyria from our recent study was the super power of the world at this time: conquering many nations. Amongst nations conquered was northern Israel and the target of the Assyrians was to conquer the southern part of Israel called Judah.
During David and Solomon’s reigns, Israel was a single nation, later spilt into two during the reign of Rehoboam. The Northern part maintained its identity as Israel, but the south was named Judah. Hezekiah was the King of Judah at the time of Assyria’s invasion. In Chapter 36, we see Assyria evade the fortified cities surrounding Jerusalem, the capital of Judah. Judah had shut the gate of its capital Jerusalem to protect its inhabitants and the king. The Assyrians laid siege and their king Sennacherib wrote a threat letter to Hezekiah, demanding a wilful surrender. By way of repetition of the questions posed at last week’s study: Can God be trusted? Is He strong enough, is He good enough, to deliver us? Will He be faithful to keep His promises? In today’s study we will see from this chapter how the Hezekiah reacted to the threat and how God responded in His power and splendour.

Verse 1                                                                                                                   

“When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the Lord.” [NLT]

Just like Hezekiah, some challenging times overwhelmingly make us helpless and fearful, but our response to the threat/challenge makes all the difference. He tore his clothes as a sign of morning. He wore sackcloth as a sign of humility/helplessness. In those days the trend was offer prayers in the house of the Lord. Today our body is the temple of the Lord. We don’t need a special location for prayers.

Verses 2-3                                                                                                                 

“And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.” [NLT]

Imagine the description of the problem: a woman in labour unable to deliver the baby. It’s a case between life and death. Besides seeking the face of God, Hezekiah sent for the Prophet Isiah to pray for the nation against the Assyrian assault. When in trouble or challenges of life, it is wise to deploy a two-prawn approach to addressing the problem: Seeking the face of God and asking your friends to pray for you. Apostle Paul in 2Thess 3:1 requested for prayers from the brethren. Jesus in Matt 18:19 reiterated the power in prayers of agreement. Hezekiah recognized the value of prayers.

Verses 5-7
“5 After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah, 6 the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. 7 Listen! I myself will move against him,[a] and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’” [NLT]

Isaiah, a true prophet of God (not like the fake prophets), after seeking the face of God, debunked the threat of Sennacherib delivered through Rabshakeh – his General.

Verses 10-13
‘This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?

Rabshakeh reels out a credential presentation of Sennacherib’s conquest. These are voices the enemy uses to intimidate and destabilise its victims. Here the enemy warns that the people of Judah should not trust their king. Secondly that their God cannot save them either.

Verses 14-20
‘After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.’

Hezekiah spread this letter of sorrow before the Lord in His temple. He knows the true God he serves. Many who run to God when in trouble are not in right standing with God. The prayer of the sinner the Bible says is an abomination.

Prov 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.”

Some, when they run to their gods they get no answer, just like the nations overrun by the Assyrians. Furthermore, their god were burnt together with their covens. In V20, Hezekiah charged God to glorify Himself. The real trust for our prayer should be to bring glory to God.

Verses 21-22
 “Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria, the Lord has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.”‬‬ [NLT]‬‬‬‬

‭‭This testifies that when we are confronted by overwhelming life’s trials and we seek the face of God in prayers, He hears us and respond appropriately. Particularly when the name of the Lord is disdained, the culprit will have himself to blame.‬‬‬‬‬‬

Verses 23-26 God Responds
“Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, And lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel. By your servants you have reproached the Lord, And said, ‘By the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, To the limits of Lebanon; I will cut down its tall cedars And its choice cypress trees; I will enter its farthest height, To its fruitful forest. I have dug and drunk water, And with the soles of my feet I have dried up All the brooks of defense.’ “Did you not hear long ago How I made it, From ancient times that I formed it? Now I have brought it to pass, That you should be For crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins.”[NKJV]
God clearly stating that He permitted the Assyrians to possess all the have, because He created all things and gives to whom He pleases. Sennacherib is making an empty boast. IsaiahThe Lord says in 37:29 NLT “And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.”

God says I will put my hook in Sennacherib’s nose and my bit in his mouth. Scary I must say! The nose and the mouth are critical organs that supply nourishment to the body - air and water. A man may survive without water for a while but, if he loses breath for more than 5-7mins he is a goner.

Verses 30-32
“This shall be a sign to you: You shall eat this year such as grows of itself, And the second year what springs from the same; Also in the third year sow and reap, Plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah Shall again take root downward, And bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, And those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” [NKJV]

Usually during a siege, the farmlands are destroyed by the intruder.
God here promised to give a sign of their deliverance that for two seasons they will harvest their crops without planting.

Verses 33-35
“And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the Lord. ‘For my own honour and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’””[ NLT]

God is Covenant Keeper, not a Covenant Breaker.
God pronounced that He will defend Judah against the onslaught of Assyria for His name sake. God is ever faithful to keep His covenant, a covenant He had with David, years before.
Each time we are oppressed, repressed or depressed by those who assume undue authority over us, rather than become confrontational, let’s remember our covenant keeping God who fights our battles.

Verses 36-37
“That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.” [NLT]

In one night, an angel of God killed 185 thousand soldiers of the Assyrians. The survivors woke up to see many of their colleagues slain without fighting a war. Quite terrifying.
No surprise that king Sennacherib took to his heels and fled. This is what is called ‘a victory without a fight’. Psalms 20:7 AMP says: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, But we will remember and trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Finally, in Isaiah 37:38 PAM “It came to pass as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat [in Armenia]. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.”

The gods of Sennacherib could not save him from the swords of his own sons.
Zechariah 2:8 AMP says, “For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent Me against the nations which plunder you—for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”

If only many in privileged positions of authority today can understand how ephemeral such powers and authority that come with such positions are, they will use such for the good of mankind. May the Lord help us to focus our gaze on the eternal, and not on the temporal.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 12 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

The Chapters 36 - 39 of the book of Isaiah is like an interruption to one’s regular programme on television by a late night breaking news. In these chapters, Isaiah interrupts his prophesies to bring news from the battle front. Chapter 36 records a historical account that can be likened to the first part of a 4 part movie. In Part 1, today’s study, we see the faith of the people of God being attacked. This was not simply a contest between two kings or two nations, but actually an epic showdown between arrogant humanity and the living God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Sovereign of the nations, the Holy One of Israel. And the question, as always, is: Can God be trusted? Is He strong enough, is He good enough, to deliver us? Will He be faithful to keep His promises? In today’s study we will see from this chapter how the enemy uses the power of intimidation and deceit to manipulate the world.

Verses 1-3: Jerusalem Threatened
“Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. 2 And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field. 3 Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder.”

King Sennacherib king of Assyria has come up against all the fortified cities of Judah and taken them. He’s just taken the city of Lachish, and Jerusalem now is left. So, he sends the “field commander” of his great army with an ultimatum for King Hezekiah.

If you recall in chapter 7, when Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, God told Ahaz to ask for a sign, but he refused to “put the Lord to the test.” (Isaiah 7:10-25) Why? Because in reality, he had chosen worldly wisdom over faith. Furthermore, Isaiah prophesied in Chapter 8: 7-8a:

“7 Therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against [you] the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, 8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck”
And that’s exactly what happened in 701 BC—our text today. Because of his father’s unbelief, because God’s Word of judgment had proven true, King Hezekiah is now faced with essentially the same decision: Will he trust the Lord?

Verses 4-6: The Rabshakeh Speaks Against Judah’s Trust in Alliance With Egypt
4 Then the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: “What confidence is this in which you trust? 5 I say you speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. Now in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? 6 Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.

a.What confidence is this in which you trust? One of the great battles for Hezekiah during this time was the temptation to make a defensive alliance with Egypt, which seemed to be the only nation strong enough to protect Judah against the mighty Assyrians. As a prophet, Isaiah did everything he could to discourage Hezekiah and the leaders of Judah from putting their trust in Egypt (Isaiah 19:11-17, 20:1-6, 30:1-7). The Lord wanted Judah to trust Him instead of Egypt.

So what Rabshakeh spoke in these verses, was the truth! God wanted Judah to have no confidence in Egypt at all. But Rabshakeh isn’t doing it to bring Judah to a firm trust in the LORD God, who can and will deliver them from the Assyrians. He does it to completely demoralize Judah and drive them to despair.
Satan attacks us the same way! Often, even when he tells the truth (“You are such a rotten sinner!”), he never does it to lead us to a firm trust in the Lord our God (“Jesus died for sinners, so if I am a rotten sinner, Jesus died to forgive and free me!”). Instead, Satan’s strategy – even if he tells us the truth – is always to demoralize us and drive us to despair.

b. You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt: Strangely, Rabshakeh could see the truth of Egypt’s weakness better than many of the leaders of Judah could. He refers to their alliance with Egypt as a broken reed that is not just a worthless one but that leaning on them for support and will cost Judah.

Verse 7: The Rabshakeh Speaks Against Judah’s Trust in God.
“But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar’?”

The devil seeks to deceive us: by twisting the truth, speaking lies that have a ring of truth to them and sound like something God has actually said! Even though Hezekiah did tear down the high places (which he was supposed to do), and though Assyria was a tool in God’s hand, this did not mean that God was against them!

Verses 8-9: The Rabshakeh Speaks Against The Army of Judah.
“8 Now therefore, I urge you, give a pledge to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses—if you are able on your part to put riders on them! 9 How then will you repel one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put your trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen?”

Although king Sennacherib had a vastly superior army and could have just attacked Jerusalem without this little speech, he would prefer it if Judah would simply give up, out of fear, discouragement, or despair. The Assyrians were masters of intimidation and cities usually just surrender without a fight. The devil uses the exact same approach. Many of us picture him as always “itching for a fight” with us. Really, he doesn’t want to do battle with us. First of all, there is the strong chance you will win. Second of all, win or lose, the battle can draw you closer to God. Thirdly, what the LORD does in your life through the battle can be a great blessing for other people. So he would much rather not fight but rather, talk you into giving up or have you distracted from fulfilling your purpose in life.
(In Luke 4:5-8, we see him attempting to distract Jesus with his temptations.) He also attempt to frighten us, deceive us or bully us into surrendering. 1 Peter 5:8 says he prowls like a roaring lion. But James 4:7 tells us that if we submit to God and resist him, he will flee!

Verse 10: The Rabshakeh Claims God is on His Side.
“Have I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it.’ ”

In this verse, he goes for the jugular; in other words, “Admit it, Hezekiah. You know that your God is on my side.” And like all good deception, it would have been easy for Hezekiah and his men to believe this one. After all, hadn’t the Assyrians been wildly successful? Surely, God must be on their side. Didn’t they have the most powerful army? Surely, God must be on their side. Then he moves in with a finishing blow: “The LORD said to me, “Go up against this land, and destroy it”. “Hezekiah, God told me to destroy you. I’m just doing His will, and there is nothing you can do to stop it, so you may as well surrender.”

Verses 11-20: The Rabshakeh Sows the Seed of Doubt in the Hearts of the People
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; and do not speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 12 But the Rabshakeh said, “Has my master sent me to your master and to you to speak these words, and not to the men who sit on the wall, who will eat and drink their own waste with you?” 13 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and said, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you; 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 king of Assyria.” ’ 16 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; 17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18 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? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ ”

It was a difficult situation for the leaders in Hezekiah’s government. It was bad enough that they had to hear these words themselves, but because he was speaking in Hebrew, everyone could hear, become discouraged and possibly ask the king to surrender so they appealed for him to speak in Aramaic

But the Rabshakeh would not have it. The more fear, discouragement, and despair he can spread, the better. He pointed forward to what conditions would be like in Jerusalem after an extended siege (that people will eat and drink their own waste). He wanted this to disgust everyone who heard it, and he wanted to magnify the sense of fear, discouragement, and despair.

And then, in verse 16, Sennacherib’s devilish ultimatum was given by the Rabshakeh: “Thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me.” “Don’t trust the Lord. Don’t listen to Hezekiah. Trust me. If you don’t, we’ll besiege your city and cause you unimaginable pain and suffering. You will perish unless you follow me. But in reality, the Lord was not against His covenant people. He had not deceived them. Rather, He had brought them to the end of their resources so that Judah might depend upon her God in wholehearted trust. The Rabshakeh’s speech was going on well until he overstepped in verse 20. “Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ ”

The gods of other nations have not been able to protect them against us. Your God is just like one of them and can’t protect you either. It is one thing to speak against Judah, its people and leaders. It was another thing altogether to mock the Lord God of Israel this way and count Him as “just another god.” And just like the officer in 2 Kings 7:2 who ran his mouth challenging Elisha and consequently, the Almighty God by saying: “That couldn’t happen even if the LORD opened the windows of heaven!”
There was no way God would let him off the hook for this one. He has offended the Lord God in a way he will soon regret. He just kicked against the pricks, Acts 9:5, Exodus 14:14 says the Lord will fight for us and we will hold our peace.

Verses 21-22: CONCLUSION
“But they held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, “Do not answer him.” 22 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.”

Hezekiah had instructed the leaders not to argue with the Rabshakeh but to give him the silent treatment. King Hezekiah was wise enough to make this command, and his officials and the people were wise enough to obey him. It is often useless – if not dangerous – to try and match wits with demonic logic. It is much better to keep silent and trust God, instead of trying to win an argument. We can never win the battle with the enemy in the place of reason but the place of faith.
No matter how relentless the schemes of the devil are, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem, and no matter how undeserving we are, the Lord is a mighty and gracious King. So we must be still in God’s presence. In Deuteronomy 32:35 God tells us that vengeance is His. Exodus 14:14 says: “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.”
The chorus of the song “Stand Still” by Deitrick Haddon says:
“Stand still and know that He is God
There's no need to fight
For the battle is not yours
The battle is the Lord's”

Parts of this study was culled from

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 05 2023

Contributor: Tobi Morakinyo

This study is a continuation of a prophecy by Isaiah about two events of the end times starting from chapter 34 studied last week which was about the judgment of God and the consequent catastrophe during the Great Tribulation period.
Chapter 35 however talks about the blessings that will come to the world when Jesus returns to reign upon the earth together with the raptured saints for one thousand years (Rev. 20:1- 6) in what is known as the Millennial reign or Millennial Kingdom. It would be a time of peace, righteousness, and restoration. During this period, Satan will be bound and unable to deceive the nations.
This study will delve into the specific nature of God's restoration for the regathered Israel during this kingdom and examine the spiritual infrastructure known as the Highway of Holiness.

After the devastating tribulation period, Jesus Christ and the Saints will come back to Earth. Isaiah chapter 35 vividly describes the prophesied restoration of both the physical world and the people of God during the millennial reign of the Lord. The prophecy specifically highlights three areas where this restoration will occur:

1. Restoration Land And The Glory Of Cities (Verses 1-2,7)
(vs. 1&2) The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God. 

(vs.7) And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water:
in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 34:9-15 describes the desolation that will befall Edom, symbolizing a proud nation opposed to God, leading it to become a "Land of Nothing." However, in contrast, after God's judgment is lifted and His Kingdom is established, the once deserted and ruined land and cities will undergo a remarkable transformation. Instead of desolation, there will be joy, rejoicing, and abundant growth, likened to the blossoming of a rose. This flourishing will be widespread, with biodiversity restored to previously barren places, resulting in great joy and singing. This imagery represents a complete and joyful renewal, where life emerges and fills the once barren land. The glory of cities such as Lebanon, Carmel, and Sharon will also be restored (Zech 11:1-2; Isaiah 60:13; Ps. 92:12).

Practical applications for daily life
The terror of the Lord is real, but so is His plan for restoration. No matter the challenges you may be facing, may be likened to a wilderness experience, take comfort in knowing that God is coming to bring transformation. He will turn your life around, causing it to flourish abundantly, and fill your heart with rejoicing if you hold on to Him.

2. Restoration Of Physical Health And Vitality (Verses 3-6)
"3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, 'Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.' 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert."

The impending judgment could easily weaken anyone's hands and make their knees feeble. However, considering the magnificent restoration that God will bring about, it is not a time for weakness or hesitation (Hebrews 12:12). Especially for the regathered Israel and surviving believers, God desires them to be strong. After experiencing the horrors of the great tribulation, it is natural for survivors to be filled with fear. However, upon the return of the Lord, fear will dissipate, and a profound faith will be reignited within the hearts of people. The reign of our Lord will be days of miraculous power just like it happened during His ministry, there will be widespread healings and restoration of physical health.

Practical applications for daily life

- Present day believers with weakened hands (lacking in diligent service to the Lord) and feeble knees (struggling to walk closely with the Lord and pray fervently) can find encouragement in this promise. It assures them that they can receive divine strength and spiritual vitality to carry them through the remaining journey of their Christian walk.

- God is never late! When fully trusted, He will surely come and save His people to the uttermost (Hebrew 7:25). In our present trials, we need the strong hope of the LORD to overcome our fearful hearts by the assured confidence that He will come and save.

3. Restoration Of Spiritual Life - The Highway Of Holiness (Verses 8-10)
"8 A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; it shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

The "highway of Holiness" symbolizes a path of holiness, righteousness, and obedience to God. During the millennial kingdom, holiness will prevail due to the righteous reign and the binding of Satan, limiting his corrupting influence. Consequently, the majority of those living in the millennial kingdom will be saved, although a rebellion may occur among those who are not truly saved towards the end of the Millennium. The highway of holiness has three important characteristics.

1. (vs.8) The highway of holiness is a is a place of holiness, a path exclusively for the righteous; the unclean and wicked fools are not welcome. The way of holiness is made possible solely through Christ, who, in exchange for our sins, offers His perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

2. (vs.9) The highway of holiness is a place of safety, set apart for the redeemed of the Lord. It represents the safety and protection that God's people will find on this path without the fear of lions and ravenous beasts. The redeemed of the Lord will walk there in peace and safety.

3. (vs 10) The highway of holiness will be a place of joy. The path of holiness will be filled with indescribable joy, as the joy of the Lord becomes the strength of His people. All those who have been redeemed by the Lord will enter the millennial kingdom with great rejoicing.

Practical applications for daily life
Hebrews 12:14 states that "Without holiness, no one can see the Lord." In order to partake in Christ's millennial kingdom and reign with Him, we must make it our aim to live our lives on the path of holiness. Embracing a lifestyle of holiness not only ensures our participation in Christ's reign but also guarantees us safety, security, peace, and an overwhelming sense of joy. Although the road may sometimes feel lonely and narrow, we can be assured of a safe landing.

Isaiah 35 is a prophecy of hope, restoration, and transformation following the destruction in the preceding chapter. It about the characteristics of the millennial kingdom when God will bring about remarkable changes, both in the physical world and in the hearts of people. The highway of Holiness represents a path of righteousness and obedience to God, where the redeemed will walk in safety and joy. Overall, it reminds us that God's promises of renewal and abundant life are certain, and that He has the power to bring about a glorious transformation in our lives. It encourages us to place our trust in God, knowing that He will guide us on the path of holiness and lead us to a place of everlasting joy.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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