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Challenging Times

Scripture: Isaiah 36 & 37

I . You need to respond to a challenge with dependence on the LORD.

A. We see the challenge King Hezekiah and Jerusalem faced in vs. 1 and 2 of chapter 36
in 701 BC. The king of Assyria told Hezekiah and Jerusalem to surrender now. At this
exact spot in 735 BC the prophet Isaiah had a similar conversation with Hezekiah s
father King Ahaz. We read Isaiah s advice to King Ahaz at the Washer s Field in Isaiah
7:4: Be ca reful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of
these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and
the son of Remaliah.
B. Ahaz did not take Isaiah s advice to depend on the LORD. He trusted i n a political
alliance. What would Ahaz s son Hezekiah do in a similar situation? Would he depend
on the LORD? Or would he depend on an ally like Egypt (Isa. 36:6)? What does God say
to His children when they are challenged? Isa. 37:6: Do not be afraid be cause of the
words that you have heard.

II. You need to respond to a challenge with trust in God s promises.

A. King Hezekiah understood clearly what the issue was in this challenge. The issue was
the LORD s reputation. Hezekiah asks Isaiah to pray for Je rusalem with these words in
Isa. 37:4, 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.
B. The Assyrian s w ould fight against a nation whose God is the LORD. W ho is the LORD?
Hezekiah praised God for who He is and who He promised He would be in Isa. 37:16.
The LORD is the Lord of hosts, the God of angel armies. He is the only God. He is the
maker of heaven a nd earth. He is the merciful God enthroned above the cherubim.
Isaiah 42:8: I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other. Pray for
God to reveal His glory.

III. You need to respond to a challenge with returning to the LORD.

A. Isa. 37:1: As soon as King Hezekiah heard (the king of Assyria s words), he tore his
clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD
Sackcloth was a sign of repentance. Hezekiah was turning from his sin of depending on
Egypt instead of depending on God to protect him. How did God respond to Hezekiah s
repentance and faith? Isa. 37:36: And the angel of the LORD went out and struck
down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when the people arose early in the
morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.

Trust in God and return to Him, and He will overcome your challenges.Trust in God and return to Him, and He will overcome your challenges.

The book of Isaiah
Commentaries by J.A. Motyer, Derek Thomas, Bob Fyall, David Jackman & Tim Chester

Sermon Discussion Questions
1) When you are in a situation that challenges your faith, do you see this challenge as an attack on the glory of God’s reputation? Do you pray in your challenge for God to be glorified?

2) How do you pray when your faith is challenged? Do you simply tell God about your problems or do you tell your problems about God?

3) In what area of your life at this moment do you need to depend on God like Hezekiah did? What are some promises of God that you can trust in at this time?