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Let us confess our sins unto Almighty God…
O Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who pardons all who truly repent and turn to You: we humbly confess our sins and plead for your mercy. We have not loved You with a pure heart fervently, nor have we loved our neighbor as ourselves. We have not done justice, nor loved mercy, nor walked humbly with You, our God. Have mercy on us, O Lord, according to Your covenantal loving-kindness; according to Your great tender mercies, blot out our iniquity. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us. Cast us not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of our salvation, and uphold us with Your free Spirit.
Turning Back Life’s Clock
Isaiah 38:1-8, 2 Kings 20
How many people would like to turn back the clock? For all sorts of reasons? In this passage, God turns back the clock for Hezekiah – literally!
1. Hezekiah’s Tribulation.
Sometime after the events of chapter 36-37 another tragedy hit King Hezekiah. This time the misfortune was intensely personal. Hezekiah was seriously ill.
- The illness. In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. We are not told what his illness was, but we learn in verse 21 that is was some sort of a ‘boil’ – perhaps a cyst, or even a tumour.
- The instruction. Hezekiah has a pastoral visit from Isaiah. Imagine what that would have been like. He visited Hezekiah and he tells him, ‘put your house in order, you are a dying man!’
So, a new test faces Hezekiah. How will he react? Read more…
Our Mighty Defender.
Text . Isaiah 37:33-38
We reach the end of Sennacherib’s sorry tale of ambition and conquest, and in his death we see an astounding contrast. But first…
- The Lord is Our Only Defence.
If there is one thing that Hezekiah has learned, it is that only God can protect us, not ‘God and the politicians’ not ‘God and the superpowers’. To put our trust in anyone along with the Lord, is to lessen and dilute our trust in Him. God is our ONLY defence.
- God knows our dangers, tools and snares! Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: the king of Assyria was a huge threat. God knows all about it! He already has the future planned for Israel and for Sennacherib.
- God ordains the boundaries of mankind. He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. God establishes boundaries to protect us. We protect our children, we safeguard them from harm. We put up child barriers at the stairs, place fire guards at the fire, our child seats in the car. We set boundaries because we love them. God sets boundaries for all mankind. Even for Sennacherib. That’s why he ordained marriage for all mankind, why he gave us a sabbath rest…
- When god defends His People, it is for His Glory and the true benefit of his own people. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”
- The Angel of the Lord has Defeated Our Foe. And the angel of the LORD went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.
The verse has important issues to discuss, like…
- Who is ‘The Angel of the Lord?’ Def. A theophany is a manifestation of God in the Bible that is tangible to the human senses. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period, often, but not always, in human form. EX 2:2 Now, as an extension of that, many commentators and theologians believe that appearances of ‘the Angel (messenger or announcer) of the Lord is a theophany, or better, a Christophany, an OT appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ, the second person of the Trinity, who is, like the father, from everlasting to everlasting. In the OT the angel of the Lord:-
- Speaks as God, Gen 16:9
- Identifies Himself with God, 22:11
- Exercises the responsibilities of God. Judges 2:1.
- Is worshiped as God.
The fact that there are no further theophanies after the birth of Christ, would tend to make one agree with the principle that this Angel, who defends God’s people, and saves them from death and defeats their enemy is none other than Jesus Himself.. John 8:58
- How did he inflict defeat on the foe? Well if we know that the Angel of the Lord is Jesus, and his ‘accuser’ is Satan then the ultimate enemy of God’s people is (not Big Gay, not Muslims, not the abortionists ) Satan himself. Ephesians 6:12 Just as The Angel of the Lord defeated the foes of Hezekiah so he defeated out foe too. At the Cross!!!
Let us confess our sins unto Almighty God…
In YOUR church, how often does the service include a confession of sin? In some modern evangelical churches the answer would be ‘never.’ Not even in prayer.
Here’s Brian Chappell on Confession of Sin in worship :‘We run to his arms with our sin sick hearts because we know there is grace sufficient, boundless and free already there. We repent because we are forgiven, not to gain forgiveness. In our confession we experience God’s love because we confront our sin with the greatness of mercy that is already ours through faith in Christ, but we do not earn, gain or force God’s pity by the words or weight of our confession.’
Christ Centred Worship P283
We are sinners. John said,
1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Let us therefore confess our sins unto Almighty God….
More Evidence of Hezekiah’s Reforms found in Israel.
2 Kings 10:27 And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.
The ‘Times of Israel’ is reporting that archaeologists excavating at Lachish have uncovered an ancient temple of Baal, only to find that it had been converted to a toilet, in a time frame consistent with Hezekiah’s reforms, when he closed the altars of Baal and centralised worship in Jerusalem. At that time Lachish would have been Judah’s second city after Jerusalem.
Signs, Seasons and Survivors!
Text . Isaiah 27:30-32
This part of Isaiah is narrative – history unfolding. God has spoken again through Isaiah, describing the nature of those who ‘rage against God’ and the terrible fate that awaits them. In conclusion to that divine message, Isaiah tells Hezekiah that God will give him a sign…
1. Signs? 30a “And this shall be the sign for you:
Now there is no doubt that the bible is full of signs and references to signs. But biblical signs always point us to something specific, Exodus 4:8; Joshua 24:17, Matthew 12:38; John 2:18; Acts 2:22
- Should we seek signs? Jesus said, Matthew 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.
- Signs in Isaiah: Certainly Isaiah has a fair ration of signs…. Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah 8:18. Isaiah 19:20. Isaiah 20:3. Isaiah 55:13. Do you remember the names of Isaiah’s children? She’ar-Ya’shuv, meaning “A remnant shall return” (Isaiah 7:3) and the younger, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, meaning, “Spoil quickly, plunder speedily.” They were signs, their names meant something.
- The Sacraments as signs. In the Bible, signs can have a sacramental significance. Circumcision and the Passover were signs, pointing to God’s redemptive acts and purpose. And of course, in the NT, baptism and the Lord’s Supper are signs, pointing us away from ourselves, to Jesus, reminding us of his redemption of his people, washing them in his own blood on the cross, where he bore their punishment and guilt and sin and shame, and sustaining them and feeding them. The sacraments are the truly reliable signs that God has placed in his church. Heidelberg: LD25, Q66
So, what exactly is this sign that God has given through Isaiah to Hezekiah, and what does it point to? Read more…
THE RAGE AGAINST GOD
In Isaiah 26-27. There is a rebellion. It’s not just the rebellion of some minor King against the king of Assyria, the rebellion that took his main focus off Jerusalem long enough for the Rabshekah to abandon his post and go back to Assyria and get himself killed. There is a greater rebellion. It is the rebellion of the King of Assyria against the King of the Universe. Isaiah calls it ‘raging against God’. The Psalmist recognises it too in Psalm 2
It is just one short episode, one tiny skirmish in the most serious ongoing rebellion of all, the seemingly endless rebellion of sinful man against the One Holy God who is his creator, sustainer and redeemer. The source of this rebellion is Satan himself. Isaiah 14:12-15 In this passage God answers Hezekiah’s prayer. He speaks about the King of Assyria, and describes the rebellious nature of man:- by nature and practice, mankind is: Read more…