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2011-02-06: Hezekiah's 15

Time: 2011-02-17 Click:
By Stephen
06 Feb 2011

 

 

 
Bible Verses:  Isaiah 38:1-6 
       1  In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2  Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,
3 “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah:
5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.
6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.
 
 
 
 
Good morning, dear brothers and sisters, Happy Chinese New Year to you!  Let’s pray: Dear Father, You are our God, You are the Lord who is now with us and in us. Please open our eyes, fill us with Your Word today, teach us Your life-transforming Truth by the power of Your Holy Spirit.  You are the Lord, the only true and almighty God, we are here to listen to Your voice, eagerly seek You.  Father, please fill this place with You presence, fill this nation with Your glory, fill this world with the knowledge of Your mighty acts!  We all worship You as the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords! We pray this in Your Son Jesus precious name, Amen!
 
Happy New Year!  I love beginnings as it is now, because it’s a fresh start, a brand New Year to get things started great.  In today’s passage Isaiah 38:1-6, we will look at how a man of God handles bad news in God’s favored way.  
 
The passage today is divided into three divisions, Isaiah 38:1-6
1.          Isaiah 38:1          Hezekiah’s Trial (Problem)
2.          Isaiah 38:2-3       Hezekiah’s Prayer
3.          Isaiah 38:4-6       Hezekiah Received God’s Promise
 
 
1.        Hezekiah’s Problem
In Isaiah 38:1,  “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death.” What are “those days”? Let me tell you a little bit about the year 701 B.C. At that time, the world power was Assyria.  Assyria was probably the land of Iraq, Syria, and Jordan, and this world power was in the process of conquering the world at that time. And the next target victim was Judah, and specifically Jerusalem.
 
Hezekiah, you probably wonder who he was? Sounds like a strange name, but it is a good name for you to remember. Hezekiah was one of the top three kings in Israel. We know the most well-known kings were: 1) King David, known for his heart for God. 2) King Solomon known for his wisdom from God. 3) The third well known king was Hezekiah, known for his faithfulness toward God. He was a man whose country was about to be conquered by the world power Assyria, a ruthless and cruel country. His country was in danger,  he was also in personal crisis – at the point of deathI am very grateful that Bible is real, telling us all the truth in history, present, and the future. 
 
The prophet Isaiah went to the King Hezekiah and told him about his death, “This is what the LORD says:... ” (Isaiah 38:1) I think this kind of situation is  depressing: Now that I am dying, my life is ending, I haven’t lived a long life, I haven’t done enough things I wanted,  I haven’t fulfilled all my dreams and even duties in my job.  Is it astonishing for Hezekiah to hear the Word from God, “Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” (Isaiah 38:1) “What? I am facing an international crisis, and  personal crisis death at the same time, and all You have for me are those words? ” Hezekiah might have thought that way if he were an ordinary person I guess. How would you react to this distressful pain?
 
 
This scenario actually teaches us a principle process of God’s way in disciplining His children from Isaiah 38:1:
a) Trials come
b) To reprove and to remove
c) To prove and to improve
 
 
Trials are like tests. We all go through lots of tests, especially at schools and universities. What do these tests to do with reprove? Reprove is to rebuke, if you put your hands near fire, you might get burned; If you stand in the traffic, you may get hurt. This is the natural consequences when we do wrong. Likewise, if God doesn’t want you to continue doing wrong things or evil,  sometimes He sends tests and trials to stop your tracks. You may be running too fast and busy with your own stuff along in life, spend less and less time with God. God says I am going to send you a little test to stop you, to remove sins in you,  God needs your attention now to change, the tests will remind you, "I’m your God, you are holding yourself by continue the way that you are going; you are holding yourself by living such a prideful and selfish life. You are destroying your relationship with God and others. Listen, my child, I want you have this sin removed from your life. ” So we wake up, turning our attention again back to God, get back closer to our Father, He loves us, disciplines us.  
 
 
Trails and tests are there to prove our faith. Doesn’t God know our faith already? Yes, but he wants you to be aware of the quality of your faith. He wants you to know where do you stand in your relationship with Him. Faith is not just an idea or a concept about God, not how much I know about God, not just how much I spend time studying about God…  Faith is about how deep our relationship with God, how much God knows about what we have done for Him, what would we do for God in daily lives, what kind of life would we live for God. So the tests and trials are to prove the quality of our faith, how deep our relationship with God.
 
Tests and trials are there to improve our faith. Through each test you will learn more about life and God, you will gradually understand more about God and His promises, and we will steadfastly follow His guidance.  So instead of running away from your tests, saying “I don’t like tests”,   rather look at those tests as opportunities to grow stronger and deeper in Spirit, to be more in love with our Lord Jesus Christ. That is what we mean by sending this test to “reprove and remove, to prove and to improve”.
 
 
I leave a question for you here: How will you mature in faith through your current life test?  All of us will grow through our life tests. Whether it’s a question of health, a question of finance, whether  it's a question of your future, your future spouse, your future job, all of us are facing a life of tests.  How can we grow faith through these tests?
 
My first suggestion is to see our life circumstances through God’s perspective, through God’s eyes. We see that pain is not permanent, it will pass, tests will pass, trials are temporary. We will see through God’s perspective that pain is purposeful, God makes no accidents, God is all wise, He knows what he is doing.  He has a purpose behind every test and every pain that we experience.  Here I would like to encourage you not only to see what he is teaching you in trails, but also to see Him in the pain, to see Him through the circumstances that ’s difficult for you.
 
What has Hezekiah learned about God during this test? He sees that God is very personal, the Word of God comes to him. He sees God is the author of life and the One who controls life and death in all universe. He sees God is the One who holds time, and He holds our future. This is God of grace who comes to Hezekiah, gives him a warning ahead of time. This is our God, that we serve and worship here today, He knows each one of us well.
 
 
 
2.        Hezekiah’s Prayer
In Isaiah 38: 2-3, the second division, and the good point is that Hezekiah didn’t panic, “Oh, what I am going to do?! Help! ”  Understandably the trial was very difficult and severe, but Hezekiah, what did he do? He turned his eyes away from the circumstance, from man, “Hezekiah turned his face to the wall,( Isaiah 38:2)  He turned his face towards the living God and prayed.  
 
The first important point we learn is Hezekiah immediately prayed to God, the importance of about prayer, to spend time alone talking with God. That’s a challenge in our very busy lives. How much time do you spend alone with God each day?  You may be busy, here we recommend you to get up earlier and spend time alone with the King of the universe.
 
The other thing that we learn is that Hezekiah not only had prayer time with God, but also he prayed to God with a humble heart, alone with God.
 
 
The third thing that we learn from Hezekiah's prayer is purity. What does Purity mean? In Isaiah 38:3, “O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”  So when you pray to God, God desires that you walk with Him faithfully, with wholehearted devotion. Whole hearted prayers and pure walk please God.
 
And the final thing that we learn from Hezekiah's prayer in this passage is that your prayer should be passionate - Hezekiah wept bitterly. “And he wept bitterly”. (Isaiah 38:3)  This is not a ordinary prayer like “Good morning Lord, see you later.” This is a prayer that a man who wept, a man with eager heart seeking God,  wanted to see the face of God. 
 
Now we have learned that prayer is private for God, with devoted humble heart and pure walk, prayer is passionate, thirsty for God. Now I leave another question for you: How do you plan to develop a deeper prayer life?
 
 
 
3.        Hezekiah received God’s Promise
The third division, Isaiah 38:4-6, is Hezekiah received God’s promise. “Then the Word of the LORD came to Isaiah:’Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city’.(Isaiah 38:4-6)  Things were looking bright. God would add 15  more years to Hezekiah's life. This is important as before God promised king David that there would always be a king  on the throne from his line.  Had Hezekiah died, there would have been no king from David's line because at that time Hezekiah had no son at all.  God extended his life to allow for the birth of king Manasseh.  God indeed is a perfectly faithful God, he never ever forgets his promises for His chosen ones.  When you look back at your past life,  you will realize how faithful God has been, protecting you, providing you and purifying you in every detail. Father God is perfectly faithful.
 
The promise of God, adding 15 years to Hezekiah’s life. We see it not only God is the One Who holds the future, but also the One Who controls life & death, Who controls the universe. “I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.(Isaiah 38:5-6)  Indeed God saved Hezekiah and the city of Jerusalem in history at that point according his faithful promise. 
 
 
4.        What are you going to do with your next "15"? 
Now you have heard the true story of Hezekiah's faithfulness toward God, and God is merciful toward His children and He loves us dearly. Symbolically God is giving you another "15" years as well, right, that is another chance.  My next question for you is: What will you do with your next "15"?  For the rest of your life, how to make them count for eternity? How will you make your next minute, your next day, your next month, this new year count for eternity?  
 
What can we do if God gives us another "15" years more to live?   There was a little blind boy by the name of Braille, at age of 15, he came up with a braille system so that blind people can get contact with the world again through Braille method;  A athlete by the name of Kim, before he was 15, he mastered eight languages, he worked for NASA for four years, and he got PH.D. before the age of 15;  And there is a true story about king Hezekiah, his prayer saved his life and kingdom; and there will be a story about you and your next "15"!  

 

God is calling us today, dear brothers and sisters, to live a life fully according to His will and His Word, so that people of this world will see the light, they will know the infinite height and depth of God’s love.  Would you join me in this New Year in living a new life to the maximum for the God’s glory ?  Let’s propose to you to consider your next "15", and you put your house in order. That is what God told Hezekiah: “put your house in order.”  -  If you don’t know about Jesus, this is the time to pray to Him, ask for forgiveness, and tell Him I want to have a brand new relationship with You for this New Year; If you do know about Jesus, tell Him I want to have a brand new relationship with you, I want to put my house in order, cleanse me, purify me, forgive me... So that we live a holy life from this day on, we will devote ourselves regularly with wholehearted passionate prayer. From this day on, we will share the love of Jesus with more people around us.  That is our mission in Haidian Church, welcome every one join us.
 
 
 
May this New Year be a very special year to you which counts for eternity! May all your New Year be glorious!  God bless you! Amen!
 
 
Summary by Katherine
Edited by Claire
 
 
Sermon Video for Download video  
Worship song: By Faith mp3 lyric
Worship song: Lame Upon The Throne mp3 lyric
Worship song: How Great Thou Art mp3 lyric
Worship song: Your Grace Is Sufficient mp3 lyric

 

Worship Song:  For I'm Building a People of Power

 

 

 

For I'm building a people of power
And I'm making a people of praise
That will move through this land by My Spirit
They will glorify My precious Name
 
Build Your church, Lord
Make us strong, Lord
Join our hearts, Lord
Through Your Son
 
Make us One, Lord
In Your body
In the kingdom of Your Son
 
我要建立一群大能子民,
wo yao jian li yi qun da neng zi min,
 
一群充满赞美的子民,
yi qun chong man zan mei de zi min,
 
他们要靠我灵来往此地,
ta men yao kao wo ling lai wang ci di,
 
并要荣耀我宝贵的名。
bing yao rong yao wo bao gui de ming.
 
 
 
主啊,兴起! 建立教会!
Zhu, a, xing qi! Jian li jiao hui!
 
使我们靠,你坚固
shi wo men kao,  Ni jian gu
 
成为合一你的肢体
Cheng wei he yi Ni de zhi ti
 
在你爱子的国度。
zai Ni ai zi de guo du.
 
For I'm building a people of power
And I'm making a people of praise
That will move through this land by My Spirit
They will glorify My precious Name
 
Build Your church, Lord
Make us strong, Lord
Join our hearts, Lord
Through Your Son
Make us One, Lord
In Your body
In the kingdom of Your Son!
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