“Yet not I but through Christ in me.” – As I ponder these words I realize that if I want to live my life in according to Your will, it comes down to a decision I must take. I must take it with every step, every thought, every action. The onus is on me to make the decision, either to go my own way or stay in the the way of Christ and benefit from the grace that covers me there. It is not enough to know that God has infinite power. It is not enough to say that I have experienced that power in the past. That power is only available if I walk in Jesus’ will. If I choose to follow You, You will release all the power for me to do that and far more than I could dream is possible. You will convict me and remind me of the fact that I am wandering off, but You will never force me to take the right decisions. The motivation to do that is huge though, because it draws me back into the arms of Your love. Not that You ever stop loving me, but when I move away from You, I stop experiencing the joy and power of Your presence and love. Thank you Lord for reminding me of all this today.
Back to Isaiah. We come now to Chapters 36 -39, which are a narrative link between the first half of Isaiah, where Assyria features as the aggressor to the second half which looks forward to Babylon ‘s invasion and the exile. Let’s read this one step at a time and see what Jesus is saying to us.
As the Assyrian forces surround Jerusalem, the “Field Commander” addresses King Hezekaiah, who is Ahaz’s son and the present ruler in Judah, Chapter 36:1-20 deals with what this fellow says and Hezekiah’s response follows in the next chapters. I found this address interesting as an example of how Satan tries to subvert our trust in God, because that is what he is trying to do. The key word is “trust”, repeated several times. If this Field Commander can break Hezekiah’s trust in God then he is going to be able to overcome Judah. So what does he say? Read through the passage and see what he says and how what the he says can relate to what Satan may be saying to you today.
Here is what I saw:
1. Who are you depending on? vs 5, Yes, who are you depending on, that is the question for all of us?
2. Is he depending on Egypt? Well the temptation has been to do that. I suppose today, Egypt represents anyone who appears to have the ability to help us.
3. Then he casts doubt on Hezekiah’s trust in God. The incident he wrongly interprets in vs 7 refers to Hezekaiah’s removing “illegal” places of worship to force the people to worship at the temple in Jerusalem, which was God’s instruction.
4. Then he actually claims he is acting on the Lord’s instruction, v 10.
5. He then addresses the other Israelites who are listening, to try and subvert them so that they will put pressure on Hezekiah to surrender. He first threatens them personally, vs 12 Then he claims the king is deceiving them because he cannot deliver them, vs 14. He then mocks Hezekaiah’s trust in God. vs 15. He tries to offer them another land. vv 16,17. This is a huge attack on God because they were already living in the “Promised Land”, so he is attacking the very plan of God. Finally he mocks Yahweh himself by suggesting Hezekaiah is wasting his time in trusting God, because God is no better than the idols of the other nations. vv 18,19.
So what is all this about? Trust (faith) is the vital link we have with God. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith”, Ephes. 2:8. It is the means through which we are saved. It does not stop there, however. Our whole relationship with God is based on our trust in Him. The most important work He is doing in each one of our lives is to help our faith to strengthen. On the other hand if Satan can attack our faith and cause us to doubt, maybe trust God less or trust other things instead of Him, he is weakening the whole of the Church as well as each of us individually.
Now all these things that we read here represent ways that Satan uses to attack our trust in God. That is why it is so useful to read this passage because the best way to fight the enemy is to get to know his methods.
I pondered over this reading and realized how easily I trust in other things than God. When there is a medical crisis, or financial or anything else which threatens me, I find myself immediately starting to think who can help me. This seldom starts with God. Should we not consult medics, use medicines, find financial advice then? Of course not, God is the one who provides them for us. The question is, who are you trusting in? Are you lending your ears to wrong advice? Do you start doubting all sorts of things?
A very interesting passage that caused me to have lots to think about.