Not a good time for faith ? (Is. 36-37)

Publié le 30 mai 2020 dans Traductions

Nous proposons la traduction suivante du message du dimanche pour nos amis anglophones

The great Assyrian army invaded the country and all the cities fell – there is only one city left, Jerusalem. Now 185,000 soldiers are at Jerusalem’s gates.

The Assyrians’ strategy, with this general Rabshakeh, is to undermine the peoples morale and confidence. This Rabshakeh, will do everything to advise against faith and trust in God. He is very cunning.

But Hezekiah will make the right choice, he will trust in God. In this crisis, he does the
opposite of his father, King Achaz. Achaz had his crisis of faith in exactly the same place (v2 the aqueduct of the upper pond, on the way to the fuller’s field.)

Faced with the problems, challenges and fears in our lives, many say that God is not a valid solution. Nowadays influences and voices want to discourage and undermine our faith.

Despite these voices that advise against faith, trusting in God is the best option. Here are five ways the enemy can try to undermine our faith. Be aware of them so you may resist.

  1. v5 “Empty words, it takes caution and strength.” Faith in God, the Bible, prayers are just empty words. Wishful thinking, but they are empty. Trust cannot compete with medicine, science, technology, money to save us, to make us happy. “You have to be careful”. According to Rabshakeh, it is not prudent, it is not wise to believe in God and His word. Rabshakeh’s speech is full of empty words. He is mistaken at times, things of which he was so sure about have not happened whereas the words of Isaiah are not empty. The proof is that we study them centuries later.

2. Accuations (true and false!)
v6: you have placed your trust in Egypt. The people had been tempted to place their trust in Egypt, something that Isaiah also criticized.
Again in v10: there is an element of truth. It is very pretentious for him to say that, he doesn’t care about the Lord’s will, but it is not entirely false. (see v10 ‘Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this land without the Lord? The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.”). The people are guilty and deserve judgment. Satan troubles us with true accusations. You are not worthy of God. Look how many times you have doubted so God is not going to deliver you now. You deserve God’s punishment, he’s not going to deliver you. Satan quotes half-truths or biblical verses as he did to tempt Eve and Jesus.

But also false accusations:
v7: you destroyed the high places and the altars. However Rabshakeh thinks like a pagan, that it’s a good thing to have many idols. He doesn’t know that Hezekiah did well to destroy the high places. He uses a misconception and prejudices about Hezekiah’s God.
Just as today people think that christians are intolerant, they don’t like fun, etc., the
evangelicals are responsible for the covid in France …

3. Insult and public shame. He speaks in the Jewish language, v11 & 12: ‘who like you will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine’? It’s insulting, it’s belittling, he does it on purpose. He publicly denounces God. v14: he shouts with all his strength. It’s never nice to be treated like this. Maybe someone has already treated you like this in front of colleagues, friends or family …

4. He tries another strategy, kindness, seduction, he tries to buy them. v16. ‘Make peace with me, surrender to me, and each of you will eat from his vine and fig tree, and each will drink water from his cistern’. I will make you my slaves, but you can have lots of good things. This world offers all kinds of advantages, facilities, comforts, honors if we give up our faith. Sin speaks to us like that. Make peace with me, surrender and I will give you many good things.

5. Others may say ‘your God is no different than the others. One religion among many,
v19-v20. What is so special about you? The other gods did not deliver. All religions are
the same, they failed to change the world for the better’ …

You have to learn to see through these cunning tactics and do what Hezekiah did. First, they said nothing. It’s sometimes the best expression of our faith. Then, in ch 37, He turns to God, he prays, he begs for his help, he consults Isaiah to know the word of God.

Ravi Zacharias, a Christian apologist, touched many lives. His mission was to help the thinker to believe and the believer to think …. He helped a whole generation of Christians to respond to arguments like those of Rabshakeh…

And finally, the disturbing, worrying, “insurmountable” argument is the true accusation. « Your people deserve to be punished and destroyed. »

Look what God is doing, 37v35-36. God deliver this city “because of me and because of David.” As God heard the prayers of Hezekiah, the faithful king, son of David, it can also be our hope.

God delivers us because of Jesus. God does not deliver us because we deserve it. He delivers us to show all the kingdoms of the earth that He is the only God, the Savior who sent Jesus, who died and was raised for His people so that no one can “accuse the elect of God” (Rom 8.33).

Perhaps these uncertain times have undermined your confidence, caused worries and confidence in God does not seem an effective, concrete, immediate solution, perhaps you even became the voice of Rabshakeh for your entourage. But Isaiah has shown us that the other possibilities are much worse: relying on Egypt to be disappointed, yielding to Assyria to become a slave are not the best solutions.

Let’s place our trust in the one God, the God of love, the God of great deliverances.