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Isaiah 39:1-2 (ESV)
At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. And Hezekiah welcomed them gladly. And he showed them his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.

This is a troubling chapter to me. After crying out to the Lord and being healed, Hezekiah makes a grave error in judgment with the Babylonian king. Worse still, in my mind, is Hezekiah’s response. Isaiah tells him that because of his actions, there will be a day when Babylon will take away everything and make Hezekiah’s sons eunuch’s in the Babylonian court. Hezekiah’s response? “Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my days’” (Is 39:8)…
Isaiah 38:13-14 (ESV) I calmed myself until morning; like a lion he breaks all my bones; from day to night you bring me to an end. Like a swallow or a crane I chirp; I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; be my pledge of safety!

In Isaiah 38 King Hezekiah is told to set his house in order because he is going to die. His response is to cry out to the Lord in deep grief. God responds by sending him a message through Isaiah that he will extend his life fifteen years. Half of the chapter, verses 10-20, is made up of a song Hezekiah wrote in response to his healing. It is, “a writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness” (Is 38:9).

I find it fascinating how different Hezekiah’s song is from what one would expect in 21st Century American culture. If we were healed from a serious sickness, and our life was extended, our song would be filled with praise, gratitude, and celebration. We would hear about the g…
Isaiah 37:6-7 (ESV)
Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”

The Enemy’s primary weapon is not power, but deceit. The Enemy’s primary ploy is fear. Isaiah sent word to King Hezekiah, “Do not be afraid” (Is 37:6). For all the Assyrian king’s bluster and braggadocio, he ended up dead at the hands of his own sons while worshiping his god. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, put on a good show of force. He even presented evidence to substantiate his power. “Look at the other nations that have fallen to me,” he said. “Their gods could not save them. How do you expect your god to save you?” But he underestimated God.
Hezekiah’s response to Sennacherib’s threat was three-fold. First, he ran to God in hones…
Isaiah 36:4-5, 18 (ESV)
And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?

We see the essence of spiritual warfare in these verses. Assyria sent a messenger to Israel with a forceful presence. The messenger sought to undermine Israel’s faith by challenging the object of their faith and belittling their God. “Look how powerful we are,” he said. “No one has ever been able to stand against us. No other god had been able to withstand our power. Your God will be no more successful. We are the champions! Don’t resist, give in. The outcome is obvious.”

These are the words the Enemy whispers in our ears, “You’ve never been…
Isaiah 35:5-6 (ESV) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
These verses were referenced by Jesus when John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Mt 11:3). He told John’s disciples to go back and tell John, “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Mt 11:5). Jesus isn’t directly quoting Is 35, but he is certainly referring to it.
What do you speak to a people facing devastation and captivity? You speak hope. It is interesting that American Evangelicalism doesn’t really know what to do with hope. We sing, “My hope is built nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” We talk about hope. Our aches and p…
Isaiah 34:2, 8 (ESV) For the LORD is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host; he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.
For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.

Those who say that the God of the Old Testament is a mean, angry God often refer to verses like these. In doing so, they fail to take two additional truths into consideration. First, they fail to understand the depth of mankind’s sin that brought God to this point. The judgment of God is a natural and appropriate recompense for the violence, bloodshed, and depravity of those he is judging. The nations have devoted their own children to destruction in false worship. They have violently invaded other lands. They have raped, murdered, and destroyed. The language of this chapter indicates that God is pouring back upon their heads the very thing they have done to others. It is just recompense.
Second, people fail to see the balancing truths…
Isaiah 33:14-15 (ESV) The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?” He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,

God promises, in this chapter, that the destroyers will be destroyed and God’s people will be restored. Before that happens, however, God’s people will experience terrible things. How can they survive? First, they are to call out to God. “O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble” (Isa 33:2). Second, they are to trust God. “The LORD is exalted, …and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge” (Isa 33:5-6). Third, they are to walk righteously, speak uprightly, and live honestly (see Is 33:1…