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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, August 16 2023

Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye

In the last bible study, we started to look at “Hezekiah’s healing”. In that study, we learnt there is always a need for prayer, that prayers that come from the heart passionately connects to God’s heart, we learnt that God delights in answering prayers and that once we receive answers to prayers, we should not forget to be thankful. This week’s study will be in two parts. In the first part, Chapter 39, we see how Hezekiah seemed to lose his values on the accounts of “show off”, while the second part, Chapter 40, we see a change of tone with God promising comfort.

Isaiah 39 vs.1-8
Verse 1-2: Hezekiah’s Vanity

At that time Merodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2 And Hezekiah was pleased with them and showed them the house of his treasures the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.

When Hezekiah received the letter from the king of Assyria, he handled the threat by spreading it before the Lord in the house of the Lord. But when he now receives a letter from Babylon (a flattering letter), AND a present with it, Hezekiah acts very differently.
Hezekiah’s illness gave the Babylonian king an excuse to send representatives to Hezekiah and
Hezekiah taken in by the flattery of Babylon, he trusted these ambassadors. Hezekiah’s faith, which had been strengthened through his miraculous recovery from death, soon weakened. He was proud of the prosperity he had brought to his kingdom, and he jumped at the opportunity to impress Babylon. He therefore gladly showed his willingness to cooperate.
We have need to watch over our own spirits when we are showing our friends our possessions, what we have done and what we have gotten. We must always remember it is not by our might or our merit that we have purchased or obtained any wealth. When we look upon our enjoyments, and have occasion to speak of them, it must be with humble acknowledgments of our own unworthiness and thankful acknowledgments of God's goodness.

Verse 3-4: Isaiah reproves Hezekiah
3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” So, Hezekiah said, “They came to me from a far country, from Babylon.” 4 And he said, “What have they seen in your house?” So, Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.”

Isaiah already knew the answer to these questions he was asking Hezekiah here. We could say that his questions were guided by God to give Hezekiah the opportunity to answer honestly (which he did) and perhaps to see his error himself as he speaks of it (which he apparently did not) but instead, Hezekiah was proud to tell Isaiah all about it (small boy like me got the attention of a big man).
Hezekiah’s pride and extravagant ego have made him blind to anything else that was happening at the time. Let’s practice to always observe! Observe before acting, and observe after acting.

Verse 5-7: The Word of the LORD to Hezekiah through Isaiah.
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: 6 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the LORD. 7 ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”

Hezekiah kept thinking his display of wealth would impress the Babylonians however, what that display did was show the Babylonians what Hezekiah had, and what was available in their camp to be taken away. Which did happen under a different king, year after, but it did happen - the kings of Babylon did come and take it all away. Worse than taking the material things of the kings of Judah, the king of Babylon would also take the sons of the king of Judah — his true riches.

Verse 8: King Hezekiah’s Response
8 So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “At least there will be peace and truth in my days.”

A very disappointing sad state of heart and response from a king (shows himself to be almost the exact opposite of an “others-cantered” person). God declares judgment coming, and all his reaction was with relief stating that at least it will not happen in his lifetime, and he won’t have to deal with it although he exposed them to such. All he cares about is his own personal comfort and success.
Hezekiah was certainly a godly king without a doubt in the beginning, and overall, his reign was one of outstanding godliness. Yet Hezekiah did not finish well (his beginning was much better than his end). The extra gift of years of life God gave him did not make him a better or more godly man.

Time or age doesn’t necessarily make us any better. Consider that time does nothing but pass away. We sometimes say, “time will tell,” “time will heal,” or “time will bring out the potential in me.” But time will do nothing of the sort! Time will only come and go. It is only how we use time that matters. Hezekiah didn’t make good use of the extra time the LORD gave him.

Isaiah 40 vs.1-31

This chapter begins with a change of tone (softer). Instead of wrath, God is promising comfort. Where do we find comfort when life is overwhelming? How do you handle the news that you are being laid off? How do you deal with moments when your children live in rebellion? How do you fight depression and loneliness? This chapter provides the “comfort” needed in such moments. We’ve all experienced times in our lives when we struggled to maintain a godly character (for example that moment Hezekiah had in chapter 39) in the midst of a godless culture. This chapter however reminds us that God desires his people to have comfort. The chapter also provides us with method of giving comfort to others.

Verse 1-11: The promised Comfort for Zion
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. 2 “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the LORD’s hand Double for all her sins.” 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 6 The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” 9 O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” 10 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him. 11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.

A message of comfort, pardon and tenderness follow the ending of Jerusalem's warfare and the pardoning of her iniquity.
In the first verse, “Comfort” is repeated as a form of emotional intensity. It also includes the phrase “says your God” which indicates that this is a command. Something else we see in this first verse is the word “my people” and “your God”. God has not cast them off - He is still their God. Just as a loving father will discipline his children, so God disciplines those He loves but it doesn’t mean He still won’t bring them “comfort”! These verses can be used to lift those who are downcast and troubled – it’s the Word of God to those who have lost hope. It’s not the time for anyone to give up but rather time for those weak in faith to be strengthened.

The second verse reminds us that true comfort comes from knowing God and His Word, and if we are in need of encouragement, we are not to go to “modern prophets” who are better characterized as “motivational speakers” who only make you feel better about yourself but rather we must turn to God.

Verse three then goes on to tell us that across the wilderness and desert the way of the Lord is to be prepared, and His glory will be revealed to all. Jesus is the ultimate Comforter, the coming King whose glory was revealed in the manger of Bethlehem, and throughout His life. He is our Comforter. He is the King who is coming to deliver His people from their enemies. Encouraging us to prepare ye the way of the Lord. Zion is commanded to shout the good tidings that the Lord God comes to rule with might and to tend His flock like a shepherd. God’s might is not to be underestimated, and His presence brings joy and blessing to His children.

Verse 12-17:
12Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales And the hills in a balance? 13Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him? 14With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. 16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. 17 All nations before Him are as nothing, And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

Who Measured Heaven and Earth? The heavens, earth, seas, is lands, and nations are as nothing when compared with God. Compared to the nations, God has so much more wisdom and resources. The point and reminder here is that no one can measure the amount of blessings God is able to give out by His hand because it is so vast. There is no amount of blessing you can offer to appease God, even if one uses up all the wood in the earth’s greatest forest as “burnt offering” still won’t be enough! So the least we can do is offer Him what He asks (praise, or taking comfort as the case may be).

Verse 18-26:
18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? 19 The workman molds an image, The goldsmith overspreads it with gold, And the silversmith casts silver chains. 20Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution Chooses a tree that will not rot; He seeks for himself a skillful workman To prepare a carved image that will not totter. 21 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. 24 Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. 25 “To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing.

There isn’t anybody like God - No person or image can be a likeness of God in ALL this Earth. Visualise this for a minute: God siting above the earth and spreads out the heavens like a tent seeing all of us here on earth as grasshoppers. So, who do you even want to dare compare the Holy One to? He who created the stars and calls them by name. God is so superior to humanity that man is like a tiny little insect in His sight. God is sovereign over all creation, even the princes and rulers of man (the toughest of them all). To compare God’s power and authority to any created work is great foolishness.

Verse 27-31
27Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the LORD, And my just claim is passed over by my God”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

An everlasting Creator THAT’s who God is. He is the in-comparable Lord of the heavens and earth. He does not overlook the faint and exhausted, but everyone who wait for Him will be renewed to fly like eagles and to keep running “life” without getting tired. God calls out to the Jews, reminding them that He will never change, will not cease to be, and will not be stooped down to the level of human understanding. It is pointless to say that one has hidden oneself from the Lord and that He will not judge us for our actions. God is just, holy and sees ALL - These facts will never change.

Those who foolishly believe they have escaped God’s judgment will be stripped of their strength and fall, but those who believe in God and trust in His ways have been promised to have everlasting strength and renewal. On the earth, God performs this through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost who gives believers the strength to press on towards the goal of serving God even when your physical strength has run out. After death, we (believers) will all have everlasting life and a glorified body that will never tire. The sinner, however, has none of this! So let’s keep going because our end goal has been revealed and Glorious as it is – it’s worth the push.

Even as we speak here now, some are here, low and dry! Tired and weary!! You are really feeling the weight and wondering what's happened to God’s promises. You have called out to God and it seems like you are not getting any answer. Today, I would like to encourage and remind you that God IS the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth and YOU are His reward. Your sin has been paid for so stop downsizing yourself because of sins you have already confessed, and He has forgiven you for! You've received double grace. You're His people, He is your God and you need to start trusting in Him again today.

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