Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king of Judah. He was a good king and did the things that God says are right just like his ancestor, King David did. He took away all the shrines and places of worship of the false gods that people had been worshiping. He trusted in the Lord so much so that there was no other king like him either before or after his time. He held on tight to the Lord and never stopped following Him and doing His commands. God was with Hezekiah and caused him to be successful everywhere he went.
Now, fourteen years after Hezekiah became king, an enemy king named Sennacherib came against Judah. Sennacherib demanded that Hezekiah pay him 11 tons of silver and 1 ton of gold. To get that much, Hezekiah had to take all the silver from the temple of the Lord and take all the gold off the doors. Even after Hezekiah paid him, Sennacherib sent one of his chief officers to give Hezekiah and the people of Judah this message:
“What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? Do you think that mere words can help you in war? Are you trusting in Egypt? Egypt is unreliable! Or are you trusting in the Lord? Do not let Hezekiah trick you into trusting the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely save us and Sennacherib will not defeat us!’ Do not listen to your, king but instead, come and make peace with me and I will take you to a better land. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he says, ‘God will save us!’ Every country we have taken over had their own god, but none of them were able to save them. What makes you think your God can deliver you out of my hand?”
Nobody answered the officer because Hezekiah told them not to. They went back to Hezekiah and told them all the things that the enemy said.
As soon as Hezekiah heard about it he went into the temple of God and mourned. Then he sent some people to Isaiah the prophet. They told Isaiah everything that happened. Then Isaiah answered, “Tell Hezekiah that this is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid. I will make Sennacherib go back to his own land and there he will die.'”
After this, the chief officer went back to talk with Sennacherib. There was a battle happening in another place and the enemy king decided to go back to his land but first sent the chief officer back to Hezekiah with another message. This time the message was:
“Do not let your God who you trust trick you by promising that your land will not be given to Sennacherib. You have heard how we have destroyed all the lands around you and none of their gods were able to help.”
When Hezekiah heard this message he went in to the temple again and placed the message before the Lord and prayed: “O Lord God, you are God alone of all the kingdoms of the earth. It is you who made the heavens and the earth. Open your ears to hear our prayer, O Lord, and open your eyes to see what Sennacherib has said to us mocking you! It is true that they destroyed the gods of those other nations because they were not gods at all but mere statues that were made by men. So now, Lord, save us please! Save us so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, and you alone, are God!”
Then Isaiah sent a message to Hezekiah to tell him that God heard his prayer. God said, “I will defend your city and I will save it for the sake of your ancestor, King David.”
That very night, the angel of the Lord went out and killed 185,000 people of Sennacherib’s army. Sennacherib went back to his home and while he was worshiping his god, his own sons killed him.
Around this time Hezekiah got sick and was going to die. Isaiah the prophet came to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Get ready, for it is time for you to die. You will not recover from this sickness.” But Hezekiah said, “O Lord, please remember how I have walked before you and been faithful with my whole heart and have done what is good in your sight!” Then Hezekiah wept and cried. Before Isaiah left, while he was leaving, the Lord told him to go back to Hezekiah and say, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you and add 15 years to your life and continue to keep you safe from your enemies.”
Soon after this, the king of Babylon sent messengers with letters and presents for Hezekiah since he knew that Hezekiah had been sick. And Hezekiah welcomed them and showed them all the treasure in his house–all the silver, all the gold, all the spices, oils, and storehouses. There was not anything that Hezekiah did not show to them. But afterward, Isaiah the prophet came to Hezekiah and said, “What did those men want? Where did they come from?” And Hezekiah said, “They came all the way from Babylon!” Isaiah asked, “What did they see in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything. There is not anything that I did not show to them.”
Then Isaiah said, “Hear what God has to say: ‘The time is coming when everything you own and all that your ancestors have stored up until now will be carried away to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons will be taken away and made personal slaves to the king of Babylon.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What God says is good.” Hezekiah was thinking, “At least there will be peace while I am alive.”
“Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”
“I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.”
I will recount
In our society, it’s become trite to say it, but that doesn’t make it less true—God loves you.
Stop to think about it: the God of Heaven and Earth—the Holy One, the Majestic One, the King of Glory—He loves you.
Recount it often. Recall it to mind. Remember it. Think upon His love. Dwell in it.
- “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).
- “For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness” (Psalms 26:3).
The abundance of His steadfast love
God has more than enough love for you. It won’t run out.It’s in never-ending supply. It’s always there, it’s always fresh, it’s alwaysavailable.
So in the most positive way, take advantage of it. Don’t take it forgranted, don’t abuse it; enjoy it.
- “I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, willenter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear ofyou” (Psalms 5:7).
- “As for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At anacceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me inyour saving faithfulness” (Psalms 69:13).
- “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for hissteadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for hissteadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for hissteadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for hissteadfast love endures forever” (Psalms 136:1-4).
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite'”
A contrite and lowly spirit
A common misconception about God is that our feelings directly correlate to the strength of our relationship or standing with Him. Fortunately, our feelings really do not affect His love for us nor do they change our place in His heart.
In fact, our feelings may completely deceive us into thinking the exact opposite of God’s true position. It is not when we are feeling a spiritual high, but when we are the lowest, the most contrite, in the most turmoil, the most disquieted that God confirms His unshakable presence. I don’t mean to say His proximity to us ever really changes—but our feelings do. And we can be confident even when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us all the more.
- Psalms 51:17; The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise
- Isaiah 66:1-2; Thus says the LORD: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
To revive the heart
Though contrition confirms God’s presence, it never comes to the Christian without the reciprocation of God’s comfort. His company is not for the sake of rubbing our nose in the guilt, but for strengthening our feeble knees, lifting us up from the pit, helping us regain our footing, reviving our heart.
- Psalms 147:3; He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
- Psalms 30:2-3; O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
When you find yourself wrestling with guilt, feeling far away from God, know that He is near. He is with you to help you, to comfort you, and revive you. Call on him.
“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.” (Isaiah 51:6)
When God saves, He saves forever. Everything He begins He finishes. What He promises, He performs. He is faithful. “Whatever God does endures forever” (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
- “When Christ appeared as a high…he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12).
Eternal: that which always has been and always will be. Never to cease. Everlasting.
- “This is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40).
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Everyone who is saved is saved forever.
I state this so factually because the bible does. I do not state it to raise an argument (the argument has been going on for centuries) nor do I state it to finish an argument (as long as man is man, the argument will continue). I state this truth in hopes that a storm-tossed and weary soul might find refuge and hope in Christ’s words.
I have never met a Christian that had this assurance from the start. Doubts are inevitable. Thankfully, we are not saved by the strength of our faith or in reverse-proportion to the measure of our doubts (as if the more we doubt the less we are saved), we are saved once for all by the object of our faith: Jesus Christ.
So if you have wrestled from time to time or are constantly seriously concerned, I implore you to rest in Christ. Rest in the knowledge of His eternal salvation. Get to know His word so that you can do battle with your doubts. And don’t think the doubts themselves are a sign that you are lost—you are working out your salvation, and that is healthy if you are seeking Him in the process.
I simply pray that you come to the conclusion that Christ is your Forever-Savior. I pray that you can say with confidence, like Paul, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.”
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread?
In John chapter 6 we read about a crowd of people who were following Jesus, not because they believed in Him necessarily, but because He fed them physically. It says there, “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal;'” John 6:26-27.
Do not expend all of your effort in the pursuit of physical things. Do not exert yourself in toil for things that cannot satisfy. On the contrary, be diligent to seek the food which does not perish. Seek the Bread of Life.
- John 6:32-35; “Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'”
Listen diligently to me…Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live
The only thing that will ever truly satisfy us is God Himself. We were created for fellowship with Him and will find our true belonging, our only true contentment, when we turn our ear to Him and come to Him.
- Psalms 63:5-8; “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
- Psalms 65:4; “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!”
- Psalms 107:8-9; “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
- Jeremiah 31:12-14; “They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the LORD.”
- Jeremiah 31:25; “I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
In Psalm 124, David said, “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side–let Israel now say–if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive;” Psalms 124:1-3. If the Lord was not with us, we would have every reason to sink with dismay; we would have every reason to be disquieted, to be disheartened, to feel dejected, to lose our courage. Without God, we would be swallowed alive.
- Psalms 40:11-13; “As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!”
He is a very present help in trouble. We can run to Him and be safe. We may approach His throne of grace freely and with boldness in our time of need. He is with us to strengthen us, to help us, to uphold us with His righteous right hand.
- Psalms 56:1-4; “Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
- Psalms 56:10-13; “In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.”
- Psalms 27:1-5; “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.”
In Jesus Christ we have assurance of God’s perpetual presence. We have the covenant sealed in His blood: the forgiveness of sins, life everlasting. We stand justified–innocent, righteous–before Him and completely sure that He will never abandon us. He who did not withhold His only Son to purchase our redemption–He who did not withhold His only Son in order to reconcile us to Himself–how shall He glibly forsake the sheep of His fold? We know God is for us; so then, who can be against us?
- Romans 8:31-39; “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Fear not, He is with us. He is our God. He will strengthen us. He will help us. He will uphold us.
“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.”
Does this text seem to address you by name? It does me. All of us, though in varying degrees and in various ways, are storm-tossed. We have good days, we have bad days. The ocean swells up and down; all through life we reel to and fro. We long to be at peace, we long to be stable.
- Psalm 42:5-6 “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.”
- Psalm 42:11 “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
- Psalm 43:5 “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
The Psalmist was one to admit the weakness of his heart and command himself to turn his eyes to the Lord. In the midst of a storm, he called out to the One who even the wind and the seas obey.
In righteousness you shall be established
“Just a I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt. Fightings and fears within, without; O Lamb of God I come! I come!”
When we come to the Lord, having been storm-tossed and afflicted, disquieted and unstable, He establishes us in righteousness–His righteousness.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:3 “The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
- 1 Peter 5:10 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”