Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.
When we suffer, there are two benefits. Wait…………benefits??? Yes. One: is learning to lean on the Lord when no one else can help. This creates intimacy between us and God. Two: is the ability to comfort others who are suffering as you have, and to share God’s comfort and intimacy with them. The second half of this verse deals with a LOVE so great that HE hides our sins behind His back, and in so doing, saves us from destruction. Thanks be to God for His great love.
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD; “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see, listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.
In vs. 14-17, we see that Hezekiah takes these things to the Lord. He praises God first, lays out the problems, asks God for help and winds up by acknowledging God’s sovereignty. What a wonderful path of prayer when we are challenged by difficult times, difficult people or even when we are challenged in our faith by unbelievers. Praise first, lay out the problem, ask for help, acknowledge God’s sovereignty.
Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you! Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
When I read this, I began to sense the king’s impending doom. He either has no idea that he is challenging the God of the universe, or he is so puffed up and arrogant that he doesn’t care. Our God’s promises are true. He never changes. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Lord Almighty. We can rest in this.
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not joourney on it ; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there, and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Amen! Come Lord Jesus!!
All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.
Verse 4 is a very sad description. Psalm 147:4 says, “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” At the time of the destruction we read about in verse 4 , all of the stars will fall, the beauty of a canopy of stars in a brilliant summer night sky will end. But…there is hope. Revelation 21 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away…” If He is creating a new heaven and a new earth, and restoring us to live there with Him, what a day of rejoicing that will be.
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.
- a sure foundation for your times. Psalm 31:14…I say, ‘You ae my God. My times are in your hands.
- a rich store of salvation . Acts 4:12…Jesus Christ of Nazareth…salvation is found in no one else.
- a rich store of wisdom. Jas. 1…if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously.
- a rich store of knowledge. II Peter 3:18…grow in grace and knowledge of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
All of this freely given to us at that point when we say, “Yes, Lord, I am a sinner. You have died for me. Please forgive me. You can almost hear the storehouse of heaven cracking open as God pours out on us His riches.
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.
This is true even in the midst of moral decay, financial destruction, the ruination of a nation or a land . The fruit of righteousness will be peace. It is that peace that is beyond understanding. It is the peace of a heart set on God and His Word. As life rages around us, our soul is anchored to the One Who controls every circumstance.
This is what the LORD says to me; “As a lion growls, a great lion over his prey – and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against him, he is not frightened by their clamor – so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on his heights.
When the LORD comes down to do battle, none will be able to stand against Him. Even more, in this terrible time of trouble, He will hover over the ones who love Him to shield, to protect, to rescue. Zephaniah 3:17
These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. They say to the seers, “See no more visions!”, and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
This reminds me so much of our society today. “Don’t confuse me with the truth. Don’t remind me of God. Leave me alone here with what we believe is good. Stop confronting us with Christ. We don’t want or need hope. We don’t want to be free of guilt, anger and sin. We choose false hope and emptiness. God offers us truth, life and peace. No thanks.” People can say “No.” to God’s offer of real life, peace and joy in a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Their rejection doesn’t change anything. God is still God and His offer still stands.
The Lord says, : These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.
This passage is certainly descriptive of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. If salvation comes by one way only – Jesus Christ, how can the rules of men be any kind of worship. Only a heart that recognizes its sinfulness, and gratefully receives the gift of salvation can worship.