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When You get Bad News…

09/09/2016

When You Get Bad News….

Text . Isaiah 37:1-7
What do you do when you get bad news? We have a ‘case-study’ in Isaiah 37. Hezekiah has been the recipient of some very bad news indeed. The three civil servants had reported back to King Hezekiah, and their message was the worst possible news, news that no one would ever want to hear. 36:22 What will Hezekiah, the godly King of Israel do now? He would:-

1. Acknowledge Helplessness!
As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth.
The ‘rending of the garments had a very profound meaning indeed. Putting on sackcloth also was significant. Sackcloth was a coarse material usually made of black goat’s hair, making it quite uncomfortable to wear. So:

  • Mourning. In 2 Samuel 3, we read of the death of Abner, who had been the commander of Saul’s army. 31 …and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
  • Repentance. When Jonah finally obeyed God and made his way to the wicked city of Nineveh, and preached the Gospel there as he was told to do, demanding repentance from sin, note the reaction that it had among the people there. Jonah 3:6
  • Humiliation. Daniel 9:3 3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

The very first reaction to this bad news, is to come before the Lord, and admit that he can do absolutely nothing to change this dreadful state of affairs. He mourns over his condition, he repents of his unfaithfulness and sins and he casts himself humbly before the Lord. God never refuses such help! Psalm 30:11

2. Go to Church, and Seek God’s Face! and went into the house of the Lord.
After all, isn’t that the most natural thing to do for a believer? To meet with the Lord’s people, our brothers and sisters, our spiritual family, and to seek comfort in their presence, and more importantly, in the presence of the Lord. What did Hezekiah do in the House of God that day?

  • He sought the face of God in prayer. 2 Do you see how he described the situation, in all honesty to the prophet. Notice the hopelessness in his voice. Life in Jerusalem at that very moment is totally pointless. There is no point in even being born, for will be born just to die at the hands of the wicked. Such hopelessness, such despair.
  • He sought for God’s voice in God’s Word. It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; this was the OT, in the days when the Prophet of the Lord would hear from God and would speak his word, ministered to the particular situation of his day, he was a preacher of God’s message to His people. By bringing his situation to the prophet, he was asking for a sermon! His plea to Isaiah was PRACH ME THE MESSAGE! I need to hear God’s word!
  • He asked for the prayers of the saints. therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left. There’s only a handful of believers left in Jerusalem. Just a tiny remnant.

What do we need? More innovation, something new, some new method, some form of human intervention – oh no, WE NEED THE LORD. That’s why we need more prayer!
Finally…

3. Don’t be Afraid! V 5 – 7
What a sermon he got! Fear not!

  • When you face uncertainly, do not be afraid! Genesis 46:3
  • When you come to seek the Lord, don’t be afraid! He will never forsake you! Matthew 28:5
  • When persecution comes, Hebrews 13:6
  • When this present life reaches its end, and we are facing eternity. Psalm 23:4

It was God’s message to Hezekiah, and it is God’s message to us. When you get bad news, DO NOT BE AFRAID. Psalm 91:5

So, on the day that Hezekiah got really bad news, see what he did. He admitted his hopeless situation, repented in sorrow before God and all the people. He went to the Lord’s house, to pray and to hear His word, and the sermon he heard was that consistent message that runs throughout the Bible, ‘Trust in the Lord, and do not be afraid!

© Bob McEvoy

From → Bible Study, Isaiah

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