16 – THE INSULTS OF THE WORLD
2 Chron 32:16-23
Following on from the Message about The World’s Message we see that the commander still comes with more insults about Hezekiah’s God. In my last message we looked at the message that the king of Assyria sent to king Hezekiah through his commander. The intended attack had not yet begun as the commander was still negotiating with Hezekiah’s representatives. We take up the story after this message had been delivered:
1.THERE WILL BE MORE OPPOSITION vs 16
“Sennacherib’s officers spoke further against the Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah.” The commander insulted Hezekiah in full view of all the people standing on the walls of Jerusalem. They were all within earshot.
Any person who professes to be a Christian will, at some time or other, come up against people who will attack them verbally and bring all sorts of accusations against them, as well as against God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Don’t get upset when these things happen to you. You may feel that this should not happen to you and that God should protect you from these insults, etc. Actually we should rejoice in them because then you know that the world can SEE and HEAR that we serve a Living God!
When you show the Fruit of the Spirit in your life, and it is obvious to the world, then Satan WILL attack you in many ways. Peter told the Suffering Church: “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.” He gave good advice when he advised them: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” He told them further that: “It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:13-17)
Let us always be found, as born-again Christians, doing good to the brothers and sisters in the Lord. Let us not neglect the serving of the saints. In fact we should be doing good ALWAYS, even if they happen to be our enemies. By doing so we heap coals of fire on the enemies head. In today’s idiom: We put the ball in the opponent’s court!
2.THERE WILL ALWAYS BE INSULTS AGAINST GOD vs 17
“The king also wrote letters insulting the Lord, the God of Israel.” There will always be people at your work or at other places where you will hear the name of the Lord being used as swear words, where the name of the Lord will be laughed at or made small. It is surprising just how many people have absolutely no respect for God the Father, Jesus the Son, and much less for the Holy Spirit.
Even in churches where God the Father and Jesus the Son is preached we find some who still ignore the working of the Holy Spirit in the congregation and also in the life of the individual. Even though they believe in and profess the Holy Trinity they do not let the Holy Spirit work in their Services.
3.THEY SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF THE CHURCH vs 18
“Then they called out in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem.” Even though they asked the commander not to speak the language of the Israelites but rather to speak in Aramaic so that the Hebrews could not understand, the commander deliberately spoke in Hebrew. In 2 Kings 18 we have the other side and the supplementary of the same incident: “Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.’”
When Satan wants to confuse the masses he speaks to them in the language of the church. In other words he speaks to them using the same terms and sayings and even quoting from the Scriptures. Many people confessing to be Christians do not know the Scriptures. I often watch people in a church service trying to find the Book of Psalms for example. The reading is long past and they are still trying to find the place. Please do not laugh at that person should you see one, rather pray that that person would regularly take up the Bible and study it.
The Bible is not meant to te used once a week and then only in a service. It is meant to be in daily use for it is here that we find inspiration for the day. It is here where we find the will of God for us in our daily walk. It is here where we find God speaking to us through His Word and it is here where we find our guidelines for the Christian walk.
My brothers and sister in Christ, it is when we are ignorant of the Word of God that we are so easily led astray by the careful and shrewd talk of those serving Satan. The so-called “half-truth” is still a lie by any name you wish to call it by. Satan tried that with Jesus while He was in the desert straight after His Baptism. Jesus answered him with Scripture. That is what we should be able to do!
4.THEY BROUGHT LOW THE IMAGE OF GOD vs 19
“They spoke about the God of Jerusalem as they did about the gods of the other peoples of the world.” Listeners that is happening more and more today. God’s name is being brought low . We must be careful not to fall into the trap of Satan by agreeing with him. Before you say anything about God first go home, pray about it, and then say what you have to say, but be careful for your words which could, and would condemn, you at the time of the Great Judgement that will take place at the time of Jesus’ second coming.
People speak very idly about God today so it is easy to fall in with them in using the Lord’s name in vain, even if you do not really want to. There is the proverb: Familiarity breeds contempt. If you are always in the company of people who swear a lot, with time you will find yourself slowly doing the same thing if you are not fully lead by the Holy Spirit. We have to guard against such things.
5.HEZEKIAH’S AND ISAIAH’S CRY TO GOD vs 20
“King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this.” The Book of Chronicles does not give the account of Hezekiah’s cry but let us go to the second Book of Kings where we find something very interesting. We read in 2 Kings 19:14, “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.” then in verse 16 we read; “And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.”
Here was a man that was being led by the Lord. When last did you and I consult the Lord in our daily affairs, our joys, our troubles? I am not talking about when they get out of hand, but at the start. We ought to get back to first principles in the Word of God. So often when we do, we don’t listen to what God has told us to do. Instead we go ahead and do exactly what we wanted to do in the first place. No wonder we fall out of grace and into trouble so many times! We need to heed Hezekiah’s example by going straight to the Lord the very moment Satan attacks us.
6.GOD’S ANSWER TO HEZEKIAH AND ISAIAH vs 21
“And the Lord sent an angel…..” Because Hezekiah was obedient in all the things of the Lord, the Lord answered his prayer, almost immediately. Why did the answer come so quickly? Hezekiah BELIEVED God would answer him. He had a living and a vital relationship with God. Just look at the way he spoke to God. Here we see just how close he was to God. It was as if he was facing God and talking to Him face to face.
Is your relationship with Jesus the same as this? Special favours come only out of a special relationship with the Special Person you are specially intimate with. We all need to constantly renew our relationship with the Saviour of our lives and the only way to do this is by constantly being in His presence.
7.GOD’S GRACE TO THE BELIEVER vs 22
“So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people……. He took care of them on every side.” This saving and the grace came only through Hezekiah’s relationship with God. Listener, if you follow the example of king Hezekiah in your own life and APPLY it, and more so, PRACTICE it, then God is faithful and just to liberally pour out His grace and mercy upon you. And is that not what all of us desire?
8.GOD’S RECOGNITION FROM THE BELIEVER vs 23
“Many brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord.” When I bring an offering to the Lord in my own congregation what do I bring first and foremost? Is it not I, myself? When that offering is brought out of a willing heart, the Lord blesses.. on Monday morning Ted spoke about our tithes, our tenth of our earning. Last week I spoke on the same thing. Listener, it is only when you are not robbing God of His portion, the tenth, that God opens the windows of heaven upon the person. When we bring our tithe to the storehouse we are in fact acknowledging God as our Lord; we are giving Him the recognition that He expects from us.
In closing I want to say that when we give God recognition, openly, at work, at home, wherever we are, God will also give us recognition as far as the world is concerned. When we are not ashamed of Jesus then Jesus will not be ashamed of us before the Father. We will be like Hezekiah: “From then on he was highly regarded by all the nations.”