2006-05-09 - Life's Burdens
He created the universe in the palm of his hand and carried the sins of the world on his shoulders. He can handle the largest burdens. He counts the hairs on your head; he cares for the lilies of the field. There is no problem to small either. There is no problem - absolutely no problem - too big or too small for God.
Hezekiah took his prayer to God and God sent his answer. Immediately following his prayer's conclusion, we find God's answer. "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." (Isaiah 37:21-22a) Notice the verse does not say God spoke to Isaiah but that Isaiah came to speak to Hezekiah. God already had given Isaiah the answer. He was just waiting for the request. God is good! He has our answers just waiting on us to ask for them.
The word back from God ends with a promise that Assyria would not mount an attack on Jerusalem.
Isaiah 33:33-35 (HCSB) "'Therefore, this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria: He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or build up an assault ramp against it. 34 He will go back on the road that he came and he will not enter this city. [This is] the LORD's declaration. 35 I will defend this city and rescue it, because of Me and because of My servant David.'"
God said he would save Jerusalem for two reasons. He would save the city for Himself. Sennacherib called God's power into question; saving Jerusalem would honor God. He would be honored when Assyria realized that the God of Jerusalem was different from the gods of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph and the Edenites in Telassar (Isaiah 37:10-12). We must always give God the glory when he answers our prayers. God would also save the city because of his servant David. God may have meant he would save it to keep the line of David on Jerusalem's throne. He may have meant he would save it to honor the faith of David and his descendant Hezekiah who had also shown great faith in taking the problem to God. It's also possible that God was saving Jerusalem in order to protect the nation and David's line through which the Messiah, Jesus, would come.
Lo and behold, the Assyrians came in from Lachish and set up camp outside of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was a strong walled city on a hill. To attack a city like Jerusalem required time. Camps were set up then the attackers would cut down trees to build siege weapons and ramps up the steep hillside on which to mount the attack. All this work would leave them exposed so archers would fire volleys of arrows into the city to prevent defenders from mounting successful counter attacks. As this strong enemy pitched tents outside the walls, many may have been flooded with doubts and fears. Personally, I'd be wondering if Isaiah had really been speaking for God or had gotten the message wrong somehow. Would you have believed God's message as you stood inside those city walls? Nevertheless, God delivered completely on his promise.
Isaiah 33:36-37 (HCSB) Then the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. When the people got up the [next] morning-there were all the dead bodies! 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and left. He returned [home] and lived in Nineveh.
God's angel entered the scene and wiped out a large chunk of the enemy forces. A shot was never fired; ramps were never built. God answered the prayer in a big way. Jerusalem's big problem soon became a big retreating cloud of dust. A big god has big answers for big problems but that same big God has answers for the little problems too. He is big enough to create the universe and be everywhere in it but he is small enough to dwell within our hearts. God is good! God is amazing!
"A Christian's response to difficult situations is to remember that our God is the living God who hears our prayers. We should take our concerns to him in prayer. If we are unwilling to pray, we are really admitting that we do not trust God to help us in out times of need." (Jerry L. Faught, II in Explore the Bible: Spring 2006 Learner Guide published by Lifeway Christian Resources)
This week I want to issue each of you a challenge. Think about what burdens you. Sit down make a list and pray through it. Take every single burden to God. And - leave them there.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted
If you need a refresher since last week, parts 1 and 2 can be found online at: