Faithlife Sermons

Isaiah 36

Isaiah   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:25
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Illustration of raising the white flag. Raising the flag usually means we won. Viewing all the future glorious history is almost seems like something we cannot stake a flag on. Do those grand truths work in small places with monster problems. What does trust look like? There is a flag that can be waved each day.

Trust has a large foe‎ (v.v. 1-3)

Hezekiah has the past example of His father Ahaz. In chapter 7, Isaiah met Ahaz at this exact location and exhorted him to put trust in the Lord and not make a treaty with Assyria to protect him from the attack of Syria and Northern Israel.
Ahaz’s treaty did protect Judah from the attack of Syrian and northern Israel
He is now living with the consequences of his father’s failed trust
He has seen the sack of Samaria by this army years before
Under the leadership of Sennacherib, the nation of Assyria is on a triumphant march down the coast putting down rebellions
He has defeated Egypt at a place called Elketah. This was the only power that could possibly help them.
He is now at a town about 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem called Lachish. He has defeated the city along with other Judean cities.
Hezekiah then sends tribute to Assyria to try to protect the city and avoid defeat.
Sennacherib did not pay attention to the tribute.
So he has the past heritage of one who does not trust God. He has seen temporary means keep back trouble for a little while. He is reaping the consequences of father’s failed choices. The foe is not being stopped by any resistance. The only known means to try and stop the foe has not worked.
Now there is a taunting general, with a large army, at his doorstep. Headlines and History say that he is done.

The strategy of trust seems helpless (v.v 4-10)

The strategy of “God will deliver” is but words. It does not have any visible evidence.
Remember the point of view from which this view will be given.
Do notice the emphasis throughout this passage of Rabshakeh’s use of the great king. Apparent success is going to be so blinding to this foe.
The strategy for Hezekiah has been to turn against what his father has done. He has torn down idols and centralized worship. He has rebelled against the king of Assyria.
The taunts of all the futile options begins
Remember that this is a pagan perspective. It does not see things for what they really are. It offers circumstantial evidence rather than evidence based upon truth. It offers a perversion of the truth.
Egypt- your only available strength will damage you if you trust in Him
You have offended the very One that you have put trust in by tearing down his altars across the land. Worship according to a pagan mindset fashions a god according to their imagination.
Your manpower is so weak even if I gave you horses. You would not have enough manpower to utilize them.
God has told me to come up and destroy the land. Isaiah had been speaking about how God would use Assyria as the enemy to come up and destroy Jerusalem if they did not repent. Their boast is that God serves our purposes. They do not realize that they are serving God’s purpose. (Is. 10)

Trust sets up a contest for God (v.v. 11-21)

Illustration: playing a chess match. Someone who humbly says he will help you win. He lets the opponent get all cocky as he begins to take the chess pieces one by one. You want to accuse him of being a poor helper, but His demeanor of confidence keeps you in the game. You watch you opponent’s confidence and cockiness get high. You are down to one pawn and all of sudden you start to see your coach take down all of his pieces. You start to see his strategy. You note how much your young, naive opponent does not know. You note the the strategy the coach has used to help you put the fate of the game in his hands
* The assertion- The Lord will deliver us. The city will not be given into the hands of the King of Assyria
It’s absurd. We are backed into a corner, no other options, things are out of our control, we’re outnumbered- this sounds like strategy for winning. But that’s a twisted strategy. God shows His might with the smallest objects.
The negative admonitions in light of what Hezekiah has said
* Do not let Hezekiah deceive you
* Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord
* Do not listen to Hezekiah
* Do not let Hezekiah mislead you.
He is looking at a very narrow window of circumstances and making theses admonitions.
The "positive" admonitions
* Make a blessing with me and come out to me
* The result of heeding the admonitions
* Each of you will be able to eat of the fruit of his own vine and fig tree and drink from his own cistern. The offer was to avoid the horribleness of siege
* You will then be taken to a place like your land where there is grain and wine. This was the deportation ways of Assyria. They would often take the influential ones away from the land and put weak leaders in their place
The extent of his promise is flattering and deceiving. He doesn’t care for me.
* The logic of heeding the admonitions
* None of the other gods of the lands that we have conquered have been able to deliver them. This is the arrogant attitude expressedin Isaiah 10 regarding Assyria. The same cities of conquering are expressed in 10:9.
* Your God will not be able to deliver you. This is the climax of his speech
* Human success usually leads one to challenge God.
He actually thinks he is in control. God declared that He was using Assyria for His purpose. He has challenged God. There is no way that He can win
“Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
The taunt:
Failure taunts- effort is futile
Death taunts- I have won. Your resurrection hope is a far-off dream. So where is your close God?
A wayward relationship taunts your truth is bogus
Pain taunts that God does not care
Mocking friends taunt that your way is isolated and lonely.
Your history (abuse, failed family relationship, passed on habits) taunts that you are just going to repeat the same mistakes. You are a victim.
In summary, the foe taunts, where is your God.
The interpretive lens
It will sound realistic.
It is one -dimensional, but it the one most easily seen
It will easily look like God is against you.
So how do I get God against the foe?
Union with Christ declares, death, sin, the law has no dominion over you
With Christ in me, these following realities can control
My God does not taunt with failure
My God is not shy and hesitant about His name
My God is a person not a subject. He hears the taunts of the wicked.
Can isolation really happen with an all-present God?
“Lord you hear the foe. He is your enemy. I will boast in weakness and glory in trials.. Turn towards Him. Ask Him to do restoring work.
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