Trusting God in Troubled Times
Part 1; (READ 2 Kings 18:1-8)
This morning we want to preach the first part of a 2-part message about king Hezekiah, a man who trusted God in some of the most troubled times known to the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah. This morning we want to see Hezekiah; the man who trusted God. This evening we will see the troubles of king Hezekiah, and the response of the man who trusts God in troubled times, and finally, the great victory that God gives His people who trust Him in troubled times.
Beloved, I just want to begin by saying that we are living in troubled times. We may very well be facing some very perilous and troubled times, even in America, the home of the brave, and land of the free. As such, we need to be men and women who trust the Lord, as we will see that king Hezekiah did in our messages this morning and this evening.
1) First, Hezekiah was the son of the wicked and idolatrous king Ahaz (v. 1).
Only the Lord can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing! Praise the Lord for that.
Hezekiahís father was listed among the wicked kings of Judah, while Hezekiah was one of the best kings Judah ever had. Thank God that He can take the offspring of a vile sinner, and make him into a precious saint, otherwise none of us would have any hope.
2) Secondly, Hezekiah reigned in Judah, the northern kingdom, for 29 years (v. 2).
That was not as long as David, who reigned forty years; 7 years in Hebron, and 33 years in Jerusalem (1 Kings 2:11), or Solomon, who reigned 40 years in Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:42).
Or Asa, who reigned 41 years in Jerusalem (1 Kings 15:9-14). Asa was a good king. He took away the Sodomites out of the land, and the idols of his fathers, and removed his mother from being queen because she made an idol in a grove.†
But still 19 years was a good long time for a righteous king to serve and uphold righteousness in the land. Would to God we could have 19 years of righteous government in our land today. A lot of good could come in that length of time.
3) Thirdly, Hezekiah did that which was right in the sight of the Lord (v. 3).
The man that trusts the Lord does that which is right in the Lordís sight. He may not please men, but his main goal and purpose in life is to please God! Who are we trying to please today as Godís people?
4) Fourthly, he removed the high places (v. 4).
High places were just that. They were tops of hills or mountains. The heathen worshipped their idols in the high places, and the children of Israel worshipped the true God of Heaven, as well as idols in the high places. But the Lord commanded them not to worship Him in the high places, but at His altar in Jerusalem only.
God didnít approve of freelance, unauthorized worship in Old Testament times, and He doesnít approve of it in New Testament times either! God has always had an order of worship, and proper authority for worship, and an authorized place of worship, and mankind has historically violated Godís authority and order.
But this man Hezekiah was one of the few kings in the history of Judah, who had the courage, and trust in the Lord to remove even these unauthorized high places! Not even king Asa, who was a good and godly king, removed the high places, but he went down to his grave with this charge against him- that he removed not the high places.
5) Fifthly, Hezekiah also broke the images (v. 4).
These were the idols that the children of Israel made, and fashioned after the idols of the world. Yes beloved, the man that trusts in God will get shed of the idols of the world. The true preacher will get shed of the idols out of the church!
Sure as shootin, under the leadership of a liberal pastor, the children of God will mimic the world, and worship their idols and their graven images. It wonít be long before they will drag their idols into the church, and worship them in the church. And do you know what, they will attract a lot of numbers with their idols! But God is not pleased with them! No, God is not pleased with those who bring idols into His church!
But Hezekiah was bold. He break the images and the idols. Would to God that we had national leaders who would break the images and the idols of the heathen who are infiltrating our land. May God give your pastor the grace and strength to break the idols in the church, and in the lives of Godís people, with the hammer of the Word of God!
If Godís people want to do right by the Lord, they will desire their pastor to break the images and the idols. God help us to do what is right in His sight!
6) Sixthly, Hezekiah also cut down the groves (v. 4).
The Hebrew word for groves was ďasherahĒ, which is the same as Ashtoreth, the sensual heathen goddess that was also associated with Baal worship. Idols of Ashtoreth were made of wood and set up in groves. Sensual love and fertility, among other things, were associated with this goddess.
Beloved, we have a lot of Ashtoreth worship today. One of the biggest idols of our day is sensual, sexual lust! And sensual lust has given rise to unwanted pregnancies, and millions upon millions of murders of the unborn. And sensual lust has given rise to the incurable disease of aides, which has claimed the lives of millions worldwide, including some innocent victims.
We need leaders who will trust God and cut down the Ashtoreth groves in our land. We need preachers who will cut down the Ashtoreth groves in our churches, and church members who will cut the Ashtoreths out of our lives, and out of our hearts!
We also have a lot of Ashtoreth worshippers today, who set their grove idols up in their living rooms, and decorate them with silver and gold, and with colored lights in honor of the birth of Baal the sun god.
But someone will say; ďOh, brother Chris, we donít worship the tree.Ē Well, why do you put one up then? It certainly doesnít honor and glorify Jesus. He has not commanded us to do it, and He certainly does not want us to do it in association with His Name. If you disagree with me, please show me book, chapter, and verse for your beliefs on this matter, and I will show you book, chapter, and verse why you should not put up a tree.
7) Seventhly, Hezekiah break in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses made, which the children of Israel burnt incense to (v. 4).
Hezekiah made fun of it, and called it Ne-hush-tan, which means ďa brazen thingĒ. Nearly a thousand years after God told Moses to make that brazen serpent as a cure for the Israeliteís snake bit condition, the children of Israel were now worshipping it.
Beloved, men will worship anything in the name of religion, even Christianity. They make statues of saints and angels, and supposedly of Jesus, and then they worship the statues. People set up crosses and then worship the wood they are made of. People paint so-called pictures of Jesus, which are not pictures of Jesus at all, and then they worship the pictures.
God said in Exodus 20, verses 3-6:
ďThou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Now beloved, God has not abrogated these first two commandments, nor the other 8 commandments for that matter!
God still commands men not to worship other gods, nor make graven images, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, nor bow down and worship them, and serve them!
God has not changed. Idolatry is still idolatry. Sin is still sin. If we have idols in our homes, then we need to get them out. God takes idolatry seriously! He will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him, meaning those who worship idols!
That sounds pretty serious. It is serious beloved! People wonder why their children run wild, and why they rebel, and why they die young, or why they lead contemptible, disgraceful lives. No doubt in many cases it is because of the parentís idolatry, especially parents who know better! Oh, thank God for His mercy!
I beseech all of us this morning by the mercies of God, let us put away our idols, and put away our religious relics out of our homes. What idols do you hold near and dear, that you just canít seem to let go of? I donít know what they are, but you do and God does. Get rid of them beloved!
Itís like playing with hell fire, to see if you will get burned. Itís like keeping a den of vipers in your home for your children to play with. It is tempting the Lord to curse and destroy your children. We say that we love our children; then get rid of the idols!!!
8) Eighthly, Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel (v. 5).
And they said it couldnít be done! Yet Hezekiah trusted in the Lord. There was no king in Judah before or after him, that trusted in the Lord like Hezekiah!
When the book of our life is written, what will it say? What will God say about you and me? Today we live like we donít care what our books will say in that day, but one day we will wish they said something different.
And God keeps a true and accurate record of our lives. Think about it beloved, what is God writing about you?
Hezekiah trusted in the Lord his God. That is, he wholly believed, and depended, and relied on the Lord for all things.
If a man is going to obey and follow the Lord, and put away evil and idolatry from his life like Hezekiah did, then he must trust in the Lord. We wonít be able to do these things without putting our wholehearted trust in the Lord.
May God give us a strong trust, and confidence in Him, so that we might live lives that will please and honor the Lord our God.
9) Ninthly, Hezekiah clave unto the Lord, and departed not from following Him, and kept His commandments (v. 6).
Hezekiah clave to the Lord. That is, he held on to the Lord, as it were, and would not let go of Him. He was faithful to the worship and service of the Lord. Nothing would keep him from being faithful to worshipping and serving his God. Just about anything will keep people from being faithful to God today. What does it take to keep you from worshipping and serving God? May God help our faithless and unfaithful generation!
Hezekiah departed not from following the Lord. He didnít turn to the right hand or to the left. He didnít take any detours. He didnít get sidetracked. He didnít follow after the ways of sin, or of the world, or of Satan, but he wholly followed the Lord his God.
Hezekiah kept the Lordís commandments. People today say that we donít have to keep the Lordís commandments. Beloved, that is just a lie out of hell! Jesus said; ďif you love me, keep my commandments.Ē What does that say for people who donít keep His commandments? It says that they donít love Him!
10) Tenthly, the Lord was with Hezekiah (v. 7).
I have heard people say ďIt just doesnít seem like the Lord is with His people today like He was in old times.Ē I wonder why! Most professing believers today are not living up to Godís standards and expectations that He sets for His people. We want our cake and eat it too. We want our sins and idols, and Godís presence and blessings too.
Well, beloved, God just doesnít work that way. Donít expect to live like the devil and with the devilís crowd, and expect the Lord to be with us, and near to us. Donít be deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth, the same shall he also reap!
Verse 7 also tells us that Hezekiah rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not. Because of the sins of their fathers, Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:22-23), and Judah was beginning to feel the pressure of the Assyrian forces. But it said that Hezekiah rebelled against the King of Assyria, and served him not.
Beloved, that took great trust in the Lord to rebel against Assyria. Judah was immensely outnumbered by their enemy. There was no earthly way that Hezekiah could have overcome and defeated the Assyrians.
But beloved, he trusted that the invisible armies of the Lord were far greater than the fierce forces of his foe.
Beloved, we have a great foe at work in our nation. It is only a matter of time before he will come to besiege us and take us captive, and try and close our churches, and stop our mouths from speaking the truth, and from preaching the Gospel of Jesus.
We need to have great trust in our sovereign God during these troubled times. We need to see that greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
And we need to rebel against Satan and this wicked world, which desire to take us captive. We need to do like our preacher said Wednesday evening, and get on the offensive. Let us stage our attack against the devil and his kingdom with the Gospel message, and win the victory for the Lord Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, may we as Godís people, do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.
God help us to remove the high places, and break up the images, and cut down the groves, and break up all the relics of religion, and remove them from our homes.
God help us to be like Hezekiah, and trust in the Lord our God with all our hearts, and hold on to the Lord by faithfully worshiping and serving Him, and depart not from following after Him, and from keeping His commandments.†
If we will do these things then will God be with us as He was with Hezekiah. Then will we prosper withersoever we go in the Name of the Lord. Then will we have the victory over Satan and the world. Yes beloved child of God, trust in the Lord with all your heart, and follow Him and obey Him with all of your life.
Lost sinner, repent and trust in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of your soul this morning. Believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again from the dead the third day for you, and He will forgive you of your sins, and give you the gift of eternal life.
Yes lost sinner, trust in Jesus for the salvation of your soul and He will save you this very moment!!!
Trusting God in Troubled Times
This evening we want to see the troubles of king Hezekiah; secondly, the response of the man who trusts God in troubled times, and thirdly, Godís blessings upon the man that trusts in God in troubled times.
By way of introduction, because of Israelís sins against God, the Assyrians took Israel into captivity. Notice 2 Kings 18:9-12. You see, God uses other people and nations to chastise His people when we are disobedient to Him.
When people in the world wage an attack on us, stop and ask ourselves why the Lord is allowing them to persecute us. Maybe God is using them to chasten us! In any case, always remember that God is allowing them to do evil to us. Without His permission they could do nothing to Godís people.
But beloved, as we saw in our text, this is what becomes of nations when they rebel against the Word of God, especially nations that know the truth of Godís Word. What do we expect will become of America if we continue on our present course of sin and rebellion against God?
Is America any better than Israel? Are we any less vulnerable to the judgment of Almighty God than they were? No! If anything we are more so. If God so judged His own nation because of their sins, He will most certainly judge America, and all nations that forget God.
1. First this evening, we want to see the troubles of king Hezekiah (2 Ki. 18:17-18).
By this time in Judahís history, Assyria had already taken captive all the fenced cities of Judah, and Hezekiah had given the Assyrians an enormous gift of silver and gold from the kingís house, and from the house of the Lord, in hopes of pacifying the Assyrians, and keeping them from attacking Jerusalem.
Unfortunately for Hezekiah, the Assyrians were not satisfied with his gift, but they went on to besiege the city. Beloved, we canít pacify the devil with gifts. He wants our souls, not our gifts! He wonít stop attacking us until he destroys us. Thank God for His grace, that wonít allow Satan destroy our souls!
In the text that we just read, three Assyrian emissaries were sent by the King of Assyria to threaten Hezekiah and the children of Judah. Beloved, Satan has a lot of emissaries that he sends to threaten and harass Godís people. Donít we know this to be true!!!
We want to notice several thought about these three men and their message to Hezekiah.
1) First, we want to notice the arrogance, and the confidence of the enemy (v. 19-20).
How proud and haughty are the enemies of Godís people. Rab-sha-keh said; ďThus saith the great king, the king of Assyria.Ē And he said; ďNow on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?Ē
Beloved, the enemies of the Lordís people are all alike. They are all proud and haughty sinners. They all like to boast about how great they are. That is the way of worldlings! They are all proud and haughty boasters.
Beloved, beware of all proud and haughty boasters. Rest assured that they are not of God, but they are from the camp of the enemy. Rest assured that they are not out to do us good, but only harm.
2) Secondly, the enemies like to sow seeds of doubt in our hearts (v. 21-22).
Rab-sha-keh said ďWhat confidence is this wherein thou trusteth?Ē and ďÖwhom dost thou trust that thou rebellest against me?Ē
Now, it was true that the help of men was worthless, especially help from the nation of Egypt. The Assyrians were wily to point out the futility of the help of men. This tactic would undermine the faith of those who trusted that Egypt would help them in their time of trouble. But truly Egypt could do them no good.
But the Assyrians were dreadfully wrong in presuming that the God of Judah could do His people no good.
They also wrongly assumed that Hezekiah fought against God when he removed the high places and the altars thereof.
Today our enemies think that we Baptists are fighting against the Lord, because we preach against the high places of false so-called Christian worship, and when we preach against the manmade churches, and manmade places of worship. How wrong they are!
Donít let the enemy convince you that false churches are the true ďaltarsĒ of the Lord. Donít let them convince you that we are fighting against God because we preach against false churches and their false beliefs. Donít let the enemy shake your faith in the truth of the Lordís church, and the doctrines that she stands for.
The enemy always tries to sow doubts in the minds of Godís people. He likes to sow doubts in our minds that God is not able to help His people in our time of trouble. Donít let them undermine your faith in the Lordís power, or His love and grace for His children.
Furthermore, the enemy will try to convince Godís people that the man of God is a deceiver (vv. 29-30). They will try to undermine the peopleís confidence in Godís preacher and his spiritual understanding and ability to lead Godís people in the right way.
3) Thirdly, the enemy might even say that they are sent of the Lord (v. 25).
Here, the enemy said that God sent them to perform their evil plans to destroy Godís nation and people. One of the great tactics of the enemy is to claim to know God, and to claim to know His will. Watch out when men in the world say; ďGod told me to tell you.Ē
Beloved, if the enemy can convince us that God is with them, then will our hearts melt. We will not be able to trust the Lord, if we think He is on the side of our enemies.
4) Fourthly, the enemy tries to make an agreement with Godís people (v. 31).
They will try to make Godís people agree to give them our inheritance, and willingly surrender ourselves over to them, so that they can spoil, and plunder us without so much as a fight.
No beloved, donít make any agreements or deals with the enemy. He doesnít have our good in mind, but only our hurt, and our demise. He wants nothing more than to rob us of our inheritance.
5) Fifthly, the enemy will promise to give us as much or more than what our God will give us if we remain faithful to Him (vv. 31-32).
They promise every man his own vine and his own fig tree, and waters of his own cistern, and a land like their own land with corn and wine and bread and vineyards, and all manner of good things. All Godís people have to do is lay our arms down and surrender.
Beloved, donít believe the devil for one minute! He is nothing but a liar. He makes great swelling promises to Godís people, but his real intention is to destroy and spoil us.
Donít listen and give heed to his false promises. He has no intention of doing you any good, but only to take away your inheritance, and bring you into bondage and captivity.
6) Sixthly, the enemy will try to convince you that no god, including the God of Heaven, is able to deliver you out of his hand (vv. 34-35).
It is true that all of the gods of the heathen cannot help them in their times of trouble, because they are no gods at all. They have no power. They cannot speak, or walk, or move, much less defend those that worship and serve them.
But the God of Heaven is the living God. He is the all-powerful God. He is the all-knowing God. There is nothing that He canít do. There is no weapon formed against the Lord our God. All the armies of the earth are reputed as nothing in His sight.
Beloved, donít let Satan convince you that your God is unable to keep and defend you. That is the Armenianís god, but not the sovereign God of the Bible. Our God is able and He shall defend and keep His dear children.
2. Secondly, we want to see the response of the man who trusts in God in troubled times.
What do the people who trust in God do, when faced with troubled times?
1) First, people who trust the Lord will humble themselves before the Lord (v.1)
When trouble comes into our lives, the first thing we ought to do is to humble ourselves before the Lord. Why? Because we know that it is our sovereign Lord who has allowed the trouble to fulfill some purpose in our lives.
No enemy can come against Godís people unless He allows them to. Therefore, we do well when trouble comes our way, to humble ourselves before Him in sackcloth and ashes, and seek His face to find out His purpose in the trouble, and find out what He would have us to do.
2) Secondly, people who trust the Lord will go into the house of the Lord (v. 1).
Some people when going through troubled times, go away from the Lord and His house. Rather than drawing nigh to the Lord in His house, they quit attending church. Beloved, that is the worst thing that a child of God can do in times of trouble!
The man who trusts in the Lord will draw near to the Lord in His house, and seek His face in His sanctuary. This is invaluable for finding the remedy to our troubles.
3) Thirdly, people who trust the Lord seek help from the prophet of the Lord (v. 2).
If Godís people are having trouble, for which they do not have the answers, and they need the council of the Lord and His Word, they should come to Godís pastors and preachers. Thatís what we are here for.
Beloved, donít seek council from the world, but seek the council of your pastor, or another saint of God in the church, who knows the Lord, and is close to the Lord. That is where you will find hearty council that you can trust.
4) Fourthly, people who trust in the Lord will pray to the Lord (v. 15-19).
Notice Hezekiahís prayer.
He acknowledged that God dwells between the cherubim. That is, His dwelling place is high and holy in the heavens. He is above men, and cannot be moved or affected by men in this lower realm of sin, unless we approach Him in His prescribed way.
Hezekiah acknowledged that God is the God of all the kingdoms of the earth. Whether they know it or not, our God is God over all, and all men and kingdoms are subject to His sovereign power.
Hezekiah acknowledged God as the sovereign Creator of the heaven and the earth. This means that the entire material universe is subject unto His dominion and power, like the clay is subject to the potter.
Hezekiah asked the Lord to hear the reproach of the enemy that they had spoken against the Lord. In other words, Hezekiah didnít plea his own cause so much, but the cause of the Lordís Holy Name and His testimony in the earth. We can be sure that the Lord will vindicate His own Holy Name.
Hezekiah acknowledged that his enemy was a great foe, and that they had destroyed all the nations and their lands, and all of their idol gods, which he said were no gods at all, but only the works of menís hands. He wasnít so presumptuous to suppose that Judah was any match for their enemy. Beloved, never forget that we are no match for Satan our great enemy.
Hezekiah pleaded for the Lord to save His people by His mighty power, so that all the kingdoms of the earth might know that the Lord alone is God.
When we ask for the Lordís help and deliverance, we need to ask for the sake of His testimony, and His glory, so that the people of the earth might know that our God is the only true and living God, and the only Saviour of men.
3. Thirdly and finally, we want to see the great victory that God gives His people who trust Him in troubled times (19:31-37).
1) First, we see that salvation is of the Lord (v. 31).
It said; ďÖthe zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.Ē It wasnít the power of Godís people that saved them. They didnít bring about their own salvation, but it was the zeal of the Lord of hosts that saved them.
2) Secondly, the enemy didnít even put up a fight (v. 32-33).
The great nation of Assyria and their great king, who boasted of how great they were, and how they destroyed all the other nations and all their gods, wouldnít even come into Jerusalem, or so much as shoot an arrow there, but he would return by the way he came.
How the words of the proud and haughty are disappointed, and are come to naught, and are turned against them to bring them down to the dust.
3) Thirdly, the Lord saved Jerusalem for His own sake and for His servant Davidís sake (v. 34).
Beloved, we need to always remember that first and foremost the Lord saves His people for His own sake. Secondarily, the Lord saves His people for the sake of His covenant, as in this case the covenant that He made with His servant David.
The same is true today. God saves us for His own sake and glory, and He saves us for the sake of His everlasting covenant that He made with His chosen people.
You see, God made a blood covenant with His chosen people in eternity past. He chose to send His Son Jesus Christ into the world, born of a virgin, to become the sacrificial lamb of God, to pay the sin debt for all His chosen people on the cross of Calvary.
There on that cross Jesus suffered, bled, and died for the sins of all His people, and was buried in the tomb, and in three days He rose again from the dead for them. All who believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for them shall be saved from their sins, and receive the gift of eternal life.
In time God the Holy Spirit causes His people to hear the preaching of the Gospel, whereby He gives us new life to believe to the saving of our souls.
This is the covenant of grace, and it is for the sake of this covenant that we are saved. The question is, have you believed the Gospel of Jesus this evening to the salvation of your soul?
4) Fourthly, the Lord destroys His enemies without firing a shot (v. 35).
Beloved, God doesnít need a bow and arrow, or spear and sword. He doesnít need guns, or bombs, or missiles. All He has to do is tell the heart to quit beating, and the lungs to quit breathing. In our text, 185,000 healthy soldiers died in their sleep without knowing what hit them.
In the end time, the armies of this earth will come up to the battle of Armageddon to fight against the Lord. How foolish men are to think they can fight against the Lord Jesus!
He shall destroy them all with the sword that goeth forth out of His mouth, which I believe is His Word. Beloved, all Jesus has to do is speak the Word, and all the armies of the earth will perish in an instant.
Yes beloved, God delivers all His dear children who trust in Him from the hand of their enemies.
In conclusion, believers have a great enemy, who is Satan, the devil, who has many emissaries that he sends to trouble and harass Godís people.
Not only that, but we are living in troubled and perilous times that are going to wax worse and worse before they get better.
The question is, how do we respond to the troubles that come into our lives. Do we humble ourselves before the Lord? Do we seek the Lord in the house of the Lord? Do we seek council from Godís people who know the Lord and His Word? Do we seek the Lord in prayer?
Finally, those who trust the Lord will receive the victory of the Lord. Always remember beloved, that salvation is of the Lord from start to finish. He will defeat all our foes for His own Nameís sake, and the sake of the everlasting covenant that He made with His people.
And our God is so great and mighty that He will defeat our enemies without firing a shot. He doesnít need carnal methods of warfare, but all He needs is the power of His Word!
Lost sinner person, you have no defense against the devil. The Bible says that you are led captive by him at his will. Your only hope is to repent and trust in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of your soul.
Believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again from the dead the third day for you, and He will forgive you of your sins, and give you the gift of eternal life.
Trust in Jesus for the eternal salvation of your soul and He will save you this very moment!
And you too will receive the victory over the devil, and deliverance from your troubles!