August 5, 2007
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- Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them.
- And the king of Assyria sent Rab-shakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field.
- Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder.
- And Rab-shakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?
- I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?
- Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.
- But if thou say to me, We trust in the LORD our God: is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar?
- Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
- How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
- And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? the LORD said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.
- Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rab-shakeh, Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and speak not to us in the Jews' language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall.
- But Rab-shakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?
- Then Rab-shakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.
- Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you.
- Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
- Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern;
- Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
- Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
- Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
- Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?
- But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.
- Then came Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rab-shakeh.
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- And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.
- And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.
- And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.
- It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.
- So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
- And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.
- Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.
- So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.
- And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,
- Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
- Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered?
- Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar?
- Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?
- And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
- And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying,
- O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
- Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.
- Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries,
- And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
- Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.
- Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria:
- This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
- Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.
- By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord, and hast said, By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel.
- I have digged, and drunk water; and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged places.
- Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps.
- Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.
- But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.
- Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
- And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.
- And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:
- For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.
- Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it.
- By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD.
- For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
- Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
- So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
- And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
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- In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.
- Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD,
- And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
- Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying,
- Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.
- And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.
- And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken;
- Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.
- The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness:
- I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years.
- I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.
- Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
- I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
- Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me.
- What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.
- O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live.
- Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
- For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
- The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.
- The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.
- For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover.
- Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?
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- At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered.
- And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
- Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon.
- Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
- Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts:
- Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
- And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
- Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.
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- Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
- Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.
- The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
- Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
- And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
- The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
- The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
- The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
- O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
- Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
- He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
- Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
- Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
- With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
- Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
- And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
- All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
- To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
- The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
- He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
- Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
- It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
- That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
- Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
- To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
- Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
- Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
- Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
- He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
- Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
- But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
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- Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.
- Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.
- He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.
- Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
- The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.
- They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
- So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
- But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
- Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
- Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
- Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.
- Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
- For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
- Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
- Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.
- Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.
- When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
- I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
- I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:
- That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.
- Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.
- Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.
- Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
- Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.
- I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.
- Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.
- The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings.
- For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
- Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.
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Thought for the day:
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When I was a young boy in early elementary school, I remember that our pastor did a Sunday morning series through the book of Isaiah. I don't remember too much about any particular message or passage, but what I do remember clearly was the introduction that he gave virtually every week before he began. In it he mentioned that the book of Isaiah parallels the Bible as a whole because the Bible has 66 books and Isaiah has 66 chapters, He also informed us that the Old Testament has 39 books and the New Testament has 27 books. This also went along with the book of Isaiah, because the 40th chapter of Isaiah begins with the prophecy concerning the coming of John the Baptist, who heralded the coming of Jesus Christ, and the 40th book of the Bible, Matthew, begins with the birth of Jesus and the public ministry of John the Baptist.
It is with this in mind that I want to direct our attention to Isaiah 40. The prophecy opens with a message of comfort. This is not a message of wishful thinking, but it comes from God Himself. The notification is that Jerusalem will be at rest, her opponents will be vanquished, and her sins will be forgiven. Why will this happen? It occurs because of the arrival of an important Person upon the timeline of history. Immediately before He comes, a herald will go before Him with a wonderful message:
"Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (3-5).
He calls for the Jews, and the world at large, to prepare themselves for the arrival of Jehovah. God is coming,. and He will make everything right in nature and in society. He will be revealed in all His glory, and all men will be able to behold Him with their own eyes, and it will all happen because Almighty God has said that it will be so.
This prophecy obviously refers to our Savior, Jesus Christ. The one who went before Him to announce His arrival was His cousin, John the Baptist. Lest there be any question about this, Matthew, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, stated,
"For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" (Matt. 3:3).
John himself said,
"I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias" (John 1:23).
Isaiah was prophesying that John the Baptist would bring the message that the Messiah, God in the flesh, had come to earth. Earth, and those who live upon it may perish, but the Word of God stands forever (7-8), therefore this event must come to pass.
Isaiah goes on to tell the about the wonders of Messiah. He is God (9) and He comes to rule. He will accomplish His work, and He will reward those who have faithfully served Him (10). However, He will also be tender as a shepherd, gently nourishing and guiding His followers. It is interesting to see both aspects of the Messiah shown in these verses. He is tender and gentle (11), but He is also the supreme Creator (12, 22, 26). He needs the advice of no one (14), and He has received an education from no teacher (14). He is so great that the nations of the world are as nothing when compared to Him. They are nothing more than grasshoppers in His sight, for the earth is nothing more to Him than a footstool (Isaiah 66:1). He concludes the chapter with great verses of encouragement. He reminds us that the Lord never wearies nor lacks understanding (28). Even though the strongest of humans may falter. Our Lord not only has strength in Himself, but He willingly gives it to those who trust in Him. Listen to the closing verse:
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Israel rejected their Messiah at His first coming. Some day in the future they will receive Him at His second coming. Have you received Him as your Savior? Are you allowing Him to comfort and strengthen you? Don't make the mistake that Israel did.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery