2 Kings 18:1-8, Prepare For A Fresh Work Of God
1. Remove Idols And Spiritual Distractions (v4)
2. Trust God Like Never Before (v5)
3. Hold Fast To The Commands Of God (v6)
4. Rebel Against Bonds Not Sent By God (v7)
5. Resume Battles Previously Lost (v8)
2 Kings 18, Prepare For A Fresh Work Of God
2 Kings 18:1-8, Prepare For A Fresh Work Of God
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Well, as we look at Second Kings chapter 18 this morning, I've titled The Message Prepare for a fresh work of God, prepare for a fresh work of God.
Here we get to explore for a moment the reign and life of King Hezekiah.
This is in the season of kings where.
The nation of Judah.
The smaller southern Kingdom after Israel had split in two.
The nation of Judah had a variety of kings, the majority majority of them were not good kings, but every once in a while you would get a king like King Hezekiah, who had stepped into the throne and he would establish a revival for the nation.
He would establish something.
Good for the Kingdom of God and turn people back to relationship with.
God and so Hezekiah is an important king in Israel history.
In fact, there is more chapters in the Bible about King Hezekiah than any other king of Judah.
So we're excluding King David and King Solomon, right?
But but the rest of the kings for several 100 years of reigning over Israel Hezekiah.
Stands out as the one that that God wrote a lot about him.
He recorded his life and his Kingdom and how he reigned.
And here in Second Kings also in second chronicles as well as in the Book of Isaiah, Chapters 36 through 39 and so.
We have a lot of insight into King Hezekiah and his reign and how he conducted things.
He was a king who did what was right.
Notice that it says that in verse three he did what was right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father David had done.
The comparison with Hezekiah is a comparison to David.
He followed in the ways of David.
He pursued the heart of God.
There's only a couple kings, a few kings that this is set of.
Apart from David it was Issa Jehoshaphat Hezekiah.
And then we'll read on this coming week about.
Josiah as well.
And so 4 kings of all the kings that came after David were declared that they did, right.
Like David, Hezekiah is one of them.
And you know what I think is interesting about this is that Hezekiah's dad was.
The worst that the nation of Judah.
Had seen up to that point.
Hezekiah's son is going to be worse than Hezekiah's dad. But but up to this point, he has.
It tells us that he was the most wicked of the kings of Judah in the history of Judah thus far.
And yet after the worst king of Judah history comes now.
One of the greatest kings of Judah's history.
And to me that reminds us it.
It speaks to us about the reality of our history.
Our heritage does not have to have the final say about what our life is like.
Your dad might have been the worst dad in all of history, but you have the opportunity to make a change and to change.
Your past might be the worst pass of all history, and yet it's not the final say on the matter that you and I this morning as we consider King Hezekiah have the opportunity to see the characteristics of King Hezekiah and be instructed be informed and to change and allow God to do something tremendous.
In US and through us.
And that's why I've titled.
The message prepare.
For a fresh work of God, Hezekiah is going to step into the throne and there is going to be a fresh new work of God there for the nation.
For you and I this morning as we review this, we're coming into the final days of 2021, five days left.
Five days left and now it will be 2022 the new Year.
And I wonder what does God want to do in this new year?
Of course, it's just a you know another day in one sense.
But God does work in seasons so many times and there is an opportunity for us to prepare now and and to seek the Lord for this new work of God.
And the things that he wants to accomplish.
Can do in US and through.
To us for 2022, and so I want to encourage you to look at King Hezekiah this morning as a really great example of where God wants us to be and how we can prepare for the things that he wants to do next in our lives.
And so there's five points we'll look at from King Hezekiah 5 tips if you will.
From king Hezekiah.
To prepare for a fresh work of God, the first one we're going to find is in verse four, and that is remove idols and spiritual distractions, remove idols and spiritual distractions.
Verse four again said.
He removed the high places and broke.
The sacred pillars.
Cut down the wooden image and broken pieces.
The bronze serpent that Moses had made.
For until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it and called it nehushtan.
One of the first things that King Hezekiah did was he began to tear down.
The high places the high places were places for the nation of Israel to go and worship false gods.
The high places were places that were literally high.
They were elevated and it was a common practice for their culture for the people of their day, in fact.
The people who inhabited the land of Israel before Israel moved in would worship their gods on these very same high places, and so Israel was worshipping on the high places.
Now sometimes they would be worshipping foreign gods, but all chemosh Astra they would be worshiping these false gods on these high places.
Sometimes they would be proclaiming to worship the true and living God on those high places, but in their endeavor to worship God they were worshipping.
Him in a way that he had forbidden and so they were pretending in a sense, to be right with the Lord.
But going about their worship of the Lord in very wrong ways, and so Hezekiah sets out to set things straight to bring people back to the right.
And correct worship of God at the temple at Jerusalem and calls them back in chronicles.
We'll see when we get there.
There's a lot more detail.
He opens up the temple doors and restores and invites people back to the worship of God in the.
Way that God is prescribed.
And so he goes about taking care.
Of all of.
The the the issues and things where people were worshipping false gods or attempting to worship God or pretending to worship God.
But but doing it incorrectly.
But there's also this note here about the bronze serpent in verse four.
He also broke in pieces, so there was these high places there was these idols these sacred pillars?
These things that had nothing to do with God.
And then there was this thing that God himself had established the bronze.
Servant this is recorded for us in numbers, Chapter 20.
One, it's that time where the children of Israel are in the wilderness, but they're having some issues with their hearts once again, and so God allows these serpents to kind of invest their camp, and many of them are dying as they're bit by the serpents and they repent and call out to the Lord, and God instructs Moses fashion a bronze.
Serpent and set it up on the staff and anybody who looks at the serpents on the staff will be healed, will be saved from the the bite of the serpent.
700 maybe 800 years before the reign of Hezekiah, so God had instituted it. He had established it. He gave them this instruction. It was an incredible work of God that God did in their midst.
But now after some years have passed, it has become another form of idolatry.
For them it says, until those days here in verse 4 the children of Israel burned incense to it and called it nehushtan.
Neuesten just means thing of bronze or serpent of bronze.
It's kind of a mishmash of serpent and bronze from Hebrew, and so this bronze serpent became kind of a stumbling block for them.
A sidetrack for them, a distraction for them.
This thing that God had established was now keeping them.
Or distracting them.
From entering into the genuine to the real worship of God, Pastor David Guzik puts it this way.
This bronze serpent was a wonderful thing when the afflicted people of Israel looked upon.
It they were saved.
It was even a representation of Jesus Christ.
As Jesus himself said in John 3.
At the same time, man could take something so good and so used by God and make a destructive idol out of it.
This is a really important lesson for us to learn and thing for us to consider.
There are many good things.
That we allow to take a higher priority in our lives than they should.
And they become like the serpent, something that distracts us, something that keeps us or hinders us.
From our real relationship with the Lord.
And so the first thing that Hezekiah does is, he says, look, we need to get rid of all the junk.
Get rid of all this stuff.
Get rid of everything that hinders so that we can have a clear focus on the true and living God and get back to a pure worship.
And so he removes the high places the sacred pillars, the idols, and yes, even this.
Serpents upon the staff.
It was a wonderful thing for the time that.
God had established it.
But it was never intended to be something that they would burn incense to that they would worship that they would spend time at as opposed.
To gathering together at the temple and worshiping God in the.
Way that he had prescribed.
And so this morning I want to encourage you to consider this example and remove idols and spiritual distractions.
From your own life.
I would encourage you as we head into this final week of the year.
This is a good opportunity for you to do some self reflection, maybe do some review of this past year and and consider.
Is there some stuff that needs to be removed?
From your life, is there some idols?
Just some flat out rebellion against God?
Flat out sinfulness, flat out?
You know, issues of false worship.
That need to be removed, but also is there some things that at one time they were prescribed by God and they were really good for you?
But have now become habits, rituals, something that actually hinders you in your relationship with the Lord and in the things that God has called you to.
The author of Hebrews expresses this a little bit in Hebrews chapter 12 verse one.
Saying therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
It's hard to run a race when you're all tide up and ensnared by sin.
It easily ensnares us.
He describes it.
There's this idea of tripping us up, holding us back and when we're involved in sin when we're involved in things that we know are not of God, we cannot run the race that is set before us, or at least were severely hindered.
In that race, right?
That that we're not able to progress because we're all tide up.
We're wrapped up and notice that it says that the sin easily ensnares us.
It's not really a surprise when we get ensnared by sin like a shocking thing, like I can't believe I would ever get ensnared by sin.
No, it's a normal thing.
It's a common thing as believers in Jesus.
We're going to spend the rest of our lives being ensnared by sin and repenting from it and continuing on in in that confession.
Of sin and repenting from it, that, as you know, we progress in.
The Lord we.
Become sanctified, we become more like Christ.
But we never stop getting ensnared by sin.
It's always going to be an issue that we face, and so there's always.
Going to be the need for us.
And to remove sin to remove idolatry from our lives where we have misplaced our attention or focus our passion.
We followed our own pursuits and instead of the things of God it easily ensnares us.
It happens to us and that's why it's so important for us to have times of reflection where we allow the Lord to reveal and to bring up issues of our hearts and issues of our minds that are thin.
That's ensnaring us.
But he also talks about laying aside every weight again, if you're trying to run a race, then.
When you're all tide up, you're not going to be able to run that race very well.
But also if you're if you're carrying weights, you're not going to be able to run that race well.
And wheats can I think be?
A little bit related to.
The bronze serpent weights can be good things.
They're not directly sinful.
But for us, the position that they've taken.
In our lives.
They've now become wheats that slow us down that hold us down that hold us back.
From what God wants to do?
We pick up stuff pretty easily.
One of the things that I'm always mindful of.
Is games I like to play games?
But I get.
Addicted in a weird way just because I'm I'm a completionist, right?
And so one of the games that I'm playing right now is a solitaire game.
And the Solitaire game has daily challenges.
And if you don't complete the daily challenges in a certain amount of time, you can never go back and complete that challenge.
And that's like torture for me, because if I miss it.
Day, then it's not complete.
I didn't finish.
And it's just a dumb solitaire game and I'm only playing with myself.
That's why it's called solitaire, right?
Like nobody else cares.
Nobody else in the world except for probably the developer who's like yes, I got him, you know.
For me, I have to keep an eye out for that because those things I can get caught up with and distracted and weighed down because I'm caught up in some dumb thing that.
Really doesn't matter in the end.
Idols and spiritual spiritual distractions.
Is there things in your life?
Sometimes they can be good things.
At one time, and maybe there are some things even like the bronze serpent that that God spoke to you about and instituted in your life.
And you've held on to them, and sometimes that can be really good.
And there's some things that God gives you that you were to hold on for the rest of your life to those things.
But there's some times that God gives you things that are just for a season.
And and we can build a religion out of those good things that God has done in the past.
We can build a a distraction to us, something that keeps us from God.
But we're very religious in this thing that one time again was a good thing.
It's a good opportunity for us as we look at the example of King Hezekiah.
Become in our lives anything that is now an idol.
Anything that is in direct contradiction or competition with the worship of God or anything that is a distraction that just.
Semi related to God, but it really just keeps us from walking with the Lord.
Spending time with him, knowing him and being obedient to him.
Pastor Warren Wiersbe says if we are to have a revival in the Lord's work, we must begin with cleansing over the years, individuals and churches can gradually accumulate a great deal of.
While ignoring the essentials of spiritual worship, it's not by doing some unique thing that we experience new blessings from the Lord.
But by returning to the old things and doing them well.
I think that last line is worth consideration.
It's not by some unique new thing.
That we experience new blessings from the Lord, but returning to the old things.
And doing them well.
Jesus speaking to one of the churches in the Book of Revelation, says, remember from where you fall in, go back and do those first things.
And perhaps the Lord would speak to us about going back, and there's some core elements of our relationship with God that have been.
Kind of put on the sidelines by the idolatry or the distractions that we've allowed.
To creep up in our lives.
Well, as we continue to look at King Hezekiah and his example here, we get point #2 in verse 5.
Trust God like never before.
So First things first.
Clean out clean house.
It's time to clear out the the religious rubbish and get back to a very real and powerful and personal relationship with God.
And here from Hezekiah's example, we also are encouraged to trust God like never before. Verse five says this.
He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, who were before him.
Sorry, nor who were before him.
So here King Hezekiah has this really incredible things that said about him.
He trusted in the Lord.
And then a comparison is given.
All the kings of Judah who came before.
Now again, this is excluding David and Solomon, as they were kings over the whole United Kingdom of Israel.
The Kingdom of Judah.
The smaller southern Kingdom after its split, had a range of kings good to bad over several 100 years.
Hezekiah here is kind of.
In the middle towards the leader end of the Kingdom of Judah.
In comparison to all those others around him, trusted God.
More than all the other kings.
There was none like him before him.
There was no king like him who trusted God after him.
Now again there was 4 Kings who the Scriptures tell us they did what was right like David did.
There was four good kings who kind of.
Stood above the.
Rest Isa Jehoshaphat Hezekiah and Josiah but Hezekiah stood above them.
Even the other three in that he trusted the Lord like none of the others did more than the other.
Did Pastor Thomas Constable says it this way? Hezekiah's best quality was that he trusted in the Lord. He was the greatest of all the kings of the Southern Kingdom in this respect.
Unlike some of the other kings, he did not apostatize later in life.
This is one of the things that makes Hezekiah unique.
In that he trusted in the Lord, and there were other kings who started off really good who.
Started off well.
In fact, it's a common tale as you read.
Through the lives of.
The Kings for them to start off in a fairly good direction.
But to end up just.
A complete explosion, a complete disaster in regards to spiritual things.
But here the author is looking at Hezekiah, and he says.
Boy, this guy trusted God like no other king after him and no other king before him.
Now keep in mind this is a summary of King Hezekiah's life here. As we begin these verses, right?
This is not that he started his reign and he was already, you know, this place of he trusted God more than anybody else.
Now, in fact, as you read through the account, you see that Hezekiah made mistakes.
He had lapses in faith and struggled in in these things.
But the overall review and recap of his life.
Was that he trusted the Lord more than all the other kings before him, and more than all the other kings?
After him, it's not a declaration about every moment of his life, but it's a summary.
Of his life.
And in that same vein, I would ask you to consider if you were to summarize.
How would this verse read for you?
Would it read that you trusted the Lord more than any year before?
And perhaps more than any year after right was was last year, was this year 2021. That kind of the zenith.
The pinnacle of your trust in the Lord, and you've never trusted in the Lord up to this point like you have this year.
Would that be an accurate summary of where you're at? And considering that, how do you want 2022 to be?
Do you want 2022 to be a a place where the summary of it at the end would be able to say oh, he trusted in the Lord God of Israel more than any year before?
Trusting in the Lord, you can consider this idea and what this means and how it applies to us in a variety of ways.
One one of the primary examples that comes to mind for me is resources and plans.
Trusting in the Lord specifically relates to our resources and our plans.
Think about this very famous verse, proverbs 3.
Five and six trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.
Trusting in the Lord is in direct opposition to leaning on your own understanding.
There's there's an opposition here.
We don't have to understand why God tells us to do things we don't understand, have to understand why God is allowing things.
We don't have to come up with our own solutions.
We don't have to figure out with our own resources the answers and all of those details.
But we have to trust in the Lord.
Instead, with all of our heart that that stands above, that's more important.
What God has said that doesn't mean that we don't try to use our minds and don't try to have understanding that we don't, you know, use wisdom that that that's taking it too far, but at the same time, we don't allow our understanding and our wisdom.
To be the decision about whether or not we're going to obey God or not.
Now we don't allow.
US being able to explain it or understand it to be the gateway of whether or not we will believe God and receive what he has said.
Trust in the Lord.
Now we will see a couple examples of this.
That kind of parallel with King ASA and King ASA as I mentioned, was one of the other good kings that are mentioned that did like David and and and and walked with the Lord like David did.
Now ASA on the other hand as opposed to Hezekiah.
He did walk like David did and he is a good king in that regard.
But he's one of those who later in his life didn't finish very well.
And second, chronicles Chapter 16 records a couple accounts of this for us.
In second chronicles, Chapter 16, verse 7.
It talks about a situation where.
Under military threat of the king of Syria.
Brokered a deal.
Instead of trusting in the Lord or looking to the Lord and calling out upon the Lord, I'm sorry he relied upon the king of Syria not.
I was thinking backwards US Syria was coming against him, but what he did was he relied upon.
He made a deal with the king of Syria.
And and the Prophet is sent to ASA in second chronicles, chapter 16, verse seven, and says because you have relied on the king of Syria and have not relied on the Lord your God.
Therefore the army of the King of Syria has escaped from your hand.
ASA is in a similar situation to what Hezekiah is going to face in Chapter 19 of Second Kings.
Where the king of Assyria comes against Hezekiah.
And is a direct threat against Hezekiah.
But Hezekiah goes, and he spreads out.
The letter of the king of Assyria unto the Lord.
He relies upon the Lord.
He seeks the Lord for what God wants to do in the plan.
But what ASA did in that situation was he relied on the king of Syria.
He relied on a deal that he could make.
He relied upon a plan that he could construct.
In the face of a threat, he came up with his own plan, didn't hear from the Lord, didn't seek the Lord, didn't rely upon the Lord, but instead found his own way to resolve the situation.
Hezekiah, in contrast, had a great threat against him, but he relied upon the Lord.
And so this is an example of what it means to trust.
God like never before.
This is why Hezekiah stands out.
Because under this great threat.
He made sure to seek the Lord. Now again there's an example in Hezekiah's life where there's a threat. And he says, oh, you know what I messed up?
Here's some money you know.
Please leave me alone and and so he wasn't always trusting God like never before, right?
But again, he comes to this place of trust through this journey and and the summary of it is that.
He trusted God like no king before him, and no king after him.
Well, there's another parallel in Nice.
His life in Hezekiah life.
You can also see it in second chronicles Chapter 16 versus Second Kings Chapter 20.
Where Hezekiah at the end of his life has an illness, and he is about to die, and he calls out to the Lord and the Lord.
Heelstone gives him another 15 years of life.
Now some people debate about whether or not that was a good thing or not.
But the point here is that Hezekiah, in the midst of this disease, relies upon the Lord he calls out to the Lord.
He's trusting in the Lord and submitting himself to the Lord.
Meanwhile, ASA in second chronicles chapter.
Has a similar situation.
It tells us that he became diseased in his feet.
His malady was severe, yet in his disease it says in second chronicles 1612 in his disease he did not seek the Lord but the physicians.
Now I want to be careful here.
This is not saying that physicians are opposed to seeking the Lord, but.
ASA sought the Lord.
I'm sorry sought physicians instead of the Lord, not in addition to not, you know, in conjunction with.
Just completely excluded the Lord from his whole dealing with this disease and only sought the physicians.
He did not trust the Lord like Hezekiah did.
Hezekiah facing a similar situation in the midst of a disease.
Cried out to the Lord.
That doesn't mean that there was no seeking of physicians.
But he prayed to the Lord.
And if that's Hezekiah in healing that disease.
I'm sorry Isaiah in healing that disease for Hezekiah in Second Kings 20 provides a medical solution.
Here's you know the prescription to apply, and so there's a combination there of the the physician and the the seeking of the Lord, so they're not in direct opposition to each other, but but you can.
Choose to rely upon your own resources.
Trust in your own ideas and plans and ways to the exclusion of trusting in God.
And that's the point for us to consider this morning.
How is 2021 Ben for you? Did you trust God like never before?
Did you trust God above all other years of your life and your relationship with God is is that you know, a good summary of.
What this year was like for you?
But then how will you do in 2022?
We trust God when there are threats, military threats, physical threats.
When there is disease, will you trust God when COVID Megatron is announced?
We trust God when jobs change.
When stocks change when.
There's going to be change.
There's going to be.
New things for us to face in this coming year.
May it be a year that we trust God like never before.
Where yes, we use wisdom and yes, we come up with innovative and creative solutions but never to the exclusion of not trusting God, not seeking the Lord and hearing what he has to say.
About the matter.
We're moving on to the Third Point to consider about Hezekiah example as we prepare for a fresh work of God. #3 is hold fast to the commands of God, hold fast to his commands. Verse six says for he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him.
But kept his commandments which the Lord had commanded Moses.
Here the statement is made about Hezekiah.
Again, a summary of his life is that he held fast to the Lord.
Similar to trusting in the Lord very closely related, these two points, right?
But it's further explained what it meant that he held fast was that he did not depart, and what it meant that he did not depart was that he.
Kept the commandments which rewarded Kemick commanded Moses, you know, sometimes.
People like to, in their minds, separate this idea of loving God and knowing God and obedience to God.
Well, I love God right?
I do this.
Disobedience and I'm involved in this practice that God is forbidden, you know, but God knows my heart, and he knows that I love him, right?
And we try to separate these two things.
But Hezekiah held fast to the Lord, which means he did not depart from following the Lord, but which also meant that he kept his commandments.
It's not just that he didn't go into idolatry, it's not that he didn't go into all out rebellion, but he was faithful in the things that God had commanded, and he was faithful to obey.
All that he could, all that he knew all that he understood from the word of the Lord.
Now again, many kings around Hezekiah on the timeline before him, and after him they held fast for a while.
They were obedient to God for some time.
They either started out obedient or later on in their life.
They became obedient.
Hezekiah stood out, stood apart from the rest, and that he.
Summarizing through his whole life to the end of his life, he held fast in obedience to the Lord.
Yes, yes, not perfectly right with Kate.
Well, I'll accept that.
But holding fast to the Lord.
Means to keep.
Many of the kings around Hezekiah wavered.
Even though they've made commitments to obey the Lord, they wavered, and of course, there's many reasons to waver in our holding fast.
Many things that tempt us to loosen our grip.
On the things of the Lord on.
The way of the Lord.
Our own fleshly desires is.
One of the predominant things that challenge us.
And we're tempted to loosen our grip.
On the Lord.
To loosen our grip and our commitment to keeping the commands of the Lord because.
Where there's this desire, there's this craving.
From our sinful nature that we want to pursue, and so if I could only just loosen this a little bit, find a way to justify this a little bit, find a way to wiggle out of you.
Know this instruction or that command, then then I could fulfill this desire of my flesh.
But of course, another reason to waiver is just.
It's not popular.
There's a lot of pressure around.
To loosen our grip on the commands of the Lord.
That's not something new and unique for us.
You see that with all the kings of the nation of Judah that.
Even though there was good kings in the nation of Judah, every once in a while.
The nation as a whole continued to decline.
Continued, it wasn't.
That now the popular thing to do necessarily is to worship God, and so everybody was fully on board.
They would comply, but.
Sometimes reluctantly, and whenever there was the opportunity to go back to idolatry, will we see as we transition from Hezekiah to his son Manasseh.
Like the rest of the nation is like finally.
We don't have to abide by Hezekiah's rules and laws and and we can go into the things that we've been.
Wanting to go and it's.
It was not the popular thing to do, wasn't that Hezekiah was, like, all right, we're going to turn to the Lord and.
Everybody just cheered and said, yay.
He turned to the Lord and held fast and instituted the revival.
But he couldn't change people hearts.
He had authority in the Kingdom, and so he worked within the realm of his authority.
And held fast to the commands of God, even though.
It's not what everybody wanted to do.
It's not the whole nation that the whole nation desired to hold.
Fast to the commands of God.
But Hezekiah had to get a firm grip.
And say listen, we are going to be obedient.
We're going to be steadfast.
And do what God has said.
In a sense, like Joshua, he said.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
And it was maybe not the popular thing when Joshua said it either, right?
We kind of hold that up in high regard, like here's what Joshua said, right?
Like maybe he said that because.
Not everybody in his household wanted to be like him, because remember, Joshua said that to the other leaders of the nation.
Who were involved in idolatry?
Who were not serving the Lord even in Joshua's lifetime? This was already happening.
It was not the popular thing to do necessarily for Joshua to say.
As for me in my house, we will serve the Lord.
For us, as we think about holding fast to the commands of God.
There's many commands that we could consider.
But mostly what I'm asking us to consider is.
What's loosening our grip on the commands of God?
Is there some areas of our life, some fleshly desires, that we've allowed?
To grow and allowed to develop and that have kind of pride.
A few fingers off of our commitment to God and the commands of God.
Or is there?
The issue of popularity and what's common in our society and and has that persuaded us has that the world around us convinced us to loosen our grip on some of the commands of God and some of the things that God has declared to us.
Think about what Paul said to Timothy in second Timothy 3.
He said no, this in the last days perilous times will come, for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money boasters proud, blasphemers.
Blasphemers disobedient to parents Unthankful unholy, unloving, unforgiving slanders without self control.
Brutal despisers of good traders, headstrong haughty.
Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
Having a form of godliness but denying its power and from such people turn away.
Paul says this is what it's gonna be like in the last days.
This is what people around us are going.
To be focused on.
And all of these are in direct opposition to the commands of God, but this is what the world will celebrate and pursue and enjoy.
They are going to be engaged more and more.
And this kind of rebellion against God and disobedience to God.
And so for us.
We need to.
We need to ask for help.
We need to get back to holding fast to the commands of God.
Not negotiating and making deals.
But getting back to obedience to God in what he has said.
Well fourthly verse 7 now we get point #4 rebel against bonds not sent by God.
To prepare for a fresh work of God may include some rebellion on our part.
I don't get too crazy.
Let's read what it says.
For seven the Lord was with him.
He prospered wherever he went.
And he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and did not.
Here we find what Hezekiah did was he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and I spent some time on Wednesday, talking a little bit about this.
The King the the nation of Assyria was not like the nation of Judah, the nation of Judah was a small piece of land, very minimal as regards to power and influence.
Even the nation of Israel although is bigger.
Pretty minimal, but but Assyria was a world dominating empire.
It was conquering the whole known world at the time, and so the king of Assyria now has come against Judah.
And so you have this huge Kingdom against little little bitty Judah.
But here it tells us in verse 7.
He rebelled against the king of Assyria.
And what that means is, prior to this underking, he has his father.
There was deals made with the king of Assyria.
We will serve you king of Assyria.
Here's your tribute, and we'll pay you at great expense every year.
To, you know, have the privilege of being your servants, and being submitted to whatever you say.
Basically, you know Judah was under submission to.
Assyria, under his father's reign, but now, as Hezekiah takes the throne, he says, no.
We're not going to be submitted to the king of Assyria.
We're not going to pay them tribute, and so he refuses to send the money to Assyria.
That they were.
Accustomed to sending and paying their tributes, or paying their taxes.
You might say.
He rebels against the king of Assyria.
Now sometimes rebellion is the right course.
And some of you will say, Jerry, I'm really surprised to hear you say that.
Last year I tried really hard to get you to rebel.
You know, but you wouldn't do it.
But now you're saying rebellion is the right thing to do.
We need to understand that some constraints are from God.
And some are not.
There are some authorities and some restrictions and some things that are given to us.
Externally that are from God and some that are not.
In this case, the nation of Assyria was not authorized by God to rule over Judah.
It was authorized by God to rule over the Northern Kingdom, the Nation of Israel.
Assyria was given.
The right and the power.
To conquer Israel and to rule over the land, God gave that right to Assyria, but not.
For Assyria to rule over Judah.
Later on, God is going to give the authority the right of Babylon to rule over Judah.
And he is going to issue commands to kings after Hezekiah later on, when Babylon comes to power, and Assyria is out of the picture.
Babylon, like Assyria, is a world dominating empire.
It's going to seek to take over Judah.
But as Babylon seeks to take over Judah, it's.
The OK from God in doing so.
Which is interesting because.
Here you have a king rebelling from a world power against a world power.
And it's the right thing to do, but later on we're going to have kings of Judah rebelling against.
And God is going to rebuke them for it. Check out Jeremiah chapter 27, verse 8.
God speaking through the Prophet says it shall be that the nation and Kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the King of Babylon.
That nation I will punish, says the Lord.
With the sword with famine and the pestilence until I have consumed them by his hand.
And so their God is.
Nebuchadnezzar Babylon every nation in this region you are to serve them and be submitted to them.
The will of God for you.
You're not to rebel against this authority against this power that comes in, and so later on when King Zedekiah tries to follow Hezekiah's example and rebel against the world power of the day. God rebukes him.
Now is not the time to rebel.
Now is the time to submit.
And so there are times where constraints.
External powers are from God.
And there are times that they are not.
And so again, the point is rebel against bonds not sent by God.
And that, of course, is the.
The tricky part we need to have some discernment from the Lord on.
Which things in our lives he wants us to submit to?
And which things he doesn't want us to submit to think about Joseph?
Sold as a slave to Egypt, right? But he becomes prominent. He gets really kind of a lot of power in Potiphar's house.
Should Joseph had tried to escape?
I would suggest he probably had the freedom he could have made a run for.
It if he wanted to.
But he was still a slave in Egypt when he is second in.
Command of Potiphar's house.
I don't know what went on in Joseph's.
Mind or heart but.
I would imagine.
Every once in a while, he kind of looked at.
The open road and thought.
I wonder if I could get out of Egypt before they caught me.
But he stayed and he was faithful.
And the Lord was with him, and blessed him in the midst of that place.
Of ******* there in Egypt.
The Lord didn't call him to rebel.
The Lord called him to be submitted.
Now, there's times that we want to rebel.
But we shouldn't.
There's times where there's external forces applied to us and we want to fight against them.
And God would say.
There's reason there's purpose here, this is.
Not the battle for you to fight.
Remember when Jesus was tested about whether or not the Jews should pay taxes to Caesar in Matthew chapter 22?
They were hoping for.
For an authorization to rebel, we don't want to pay taxes, so please give us an excuse not to pay taxes now.
The real thing is, they're just trying to test Jesus and accuse him, but but it was a contention.
He debates amongst the day that they wanted to be able.
To throw off.
But Jesus tells them render under the things that are Caesar's, that that there is an appropriate place for there to be the submission in that context.
But of course, to be submitted to God first and foremost, render unto God the things that are God's.
There's times that we want to rebel, but shouldn't then.
There's also times that we don't want to rebel, but we should.
On another occasion, Luke Chapter 12, Jesus says, let me tell you who you should not fear.
Don't fear man, who the worst they can do is kill your body.
They can't do anything more after that and we could stop there and go.
Well, that's the worst.
So that's enough reason for me.
But Jesus says, no, no don't fear man.
Let me show you who you said fear, fear him who after he has killed his power to cast you into hell.
Yes, I say to you, fear him.
That is fear.
God rather than man.
Why would Jesus give this instruction?
Why would Jesus give this exhortation?
Because there's times where we need to rebel against man and not fear him.
And do what God has said rather than do what man.
Much like the disciples face in acts Chapter 4.
When they were commanded to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
And Peter and John.
With boldness by the Holy Spirit, said.
Whether it's not right for for us to obey you rather than God, you guys can work that out for us.
For our sake, here's what we need to do.
We need to keep on speaking the things that we have seen and heard.
And so the.
Sand, Hedron, the religious rulers of Peter and John D tried to.
Put bonds on Peter and John and Peter and John said Nope.
We're rebelling against that.
That's not from God.
We have to do what God has called us to do, and so there's not a one size fits all every you know answer resolved in a single statement kind of thing.
Here there is some discernment needed.
There is some insight from the Lord needed, but.
We need to.
Rebel against bonds that are not sent by God.
Things that the enemy wants to use to constrain us that are not the things of the Lord.
Sometimes God wants us to submit to bonds.
And to submit to those constraints and those forces, sometimes we need to rebel.
Sometimes we want to rebel and shouldn't.
Sometimes we should rebel but don't want to. You know it goes back and forth. The real thing is where are we at in compared to what God wants for us in the midst of it? Well I want to finish up point #5 in verse 8.
Is to resume battles previously lost.
Verse 8 says he subdued the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from Watchtower to fortified city.
He subdued the Philistines, the perpetual enemy of the Nation of Israel.
They were right there on the shore of the Mediterranean, and they would always try to take more territory from the nation of Israel and the nation of Judah.
So they always try to to get more.
And there was always this back and forth this.
Push and pull from the Philistines and the nation.
And of Israel, one of the towns of the Nation of Israel was this town, Gaza.
Gaza was a border town you might say, and.
When it comes to border towns, if there's going to be conflict between two nations, it's always going to be in those border towns, right?
Well, Gaza changed hands many times over the years.
You see, in judges chapter one that Judah conquered Gaza.
Later on the Midianites, they would invade Gaza and the surrounding regions every year.
We see in judges chapter 6.
Later on, the Philistines actually taken occupy Gaza and judges Chapter 16 and Samson dealing with the Philistines.
They're inhabiting Gaza.
Later on though, first King Chapter 4, Solomon Reigns over Gaza so you can see this city is kind of going back and forth exchanging hands.
It's a highly disputed territory.
Here in Second Kings Chapter 18, Hezekiah reclaims Gaza and takes it back from the Philistines, and then even now, as you hear things in the news about the Gaza Strip, right, it's still a border town.
It's still in dispute.
There's all this.
You know, this commotion going on back and forth all the time.
Here, I think Hezekiah sets for us an.
Interesting example and.
That is, there are these border towns.
Territory that was given to Israel but occupied.
By the enemy.
They tried to take it before they lost it before they've taken it before they've lost it before they.
You know, there's been this.
Back and forth.
But here, as he trusts the Lord, and is seeking the Lord.
He mounts up arms again.
He subdued the philistines.
He takes back this territory that God had given to them.
I would encourage you to consider what are the border towns.
In your life.
There is in our lives those areas right adjacent to enemy territory.
Where we have in our personality.
In our workplace.
We have these areas that are.
Perpetually in battle.
Again, it might be sinful tendencies or preferences.
But you need to know that your enemy is always seeking to take territory.
The Philistines were always there trying to looking for an occasion, trying to take another city, trying to take back land that they had lost, and the enemy is not bothered by a little by little approach.
So they don't necessarily have to conquer all of Judah, but all right, let's just take Gaza.
And so there is this border town that would continually be in the midst of battle.
And I suggest it's important for us to consider because sometimes we let the enemy win in what we would say those smaller areas.
Of our lives.
And and there are those areas that are frequently.
In battle so that we get tired of fighting this same listen, I've had to fight for.
Gaza every year.
I've had to apologize for my temper. You know, every week for the past 78 weeks like I've had to apologize for this or I've I've struggled with this or I've had this issue here.
I've had that there and and many times the repetition we can get tired of fighting this battle that we can just say oh fine, take Gaza.
It's too difficult.
It's too much trouble.
It's not worth it.
Every year the Philistines would come back and attack the same cities, and.
The Israelites would have to mount up and defend that same city, but.
Eventually they just let the Philistines have it until Hezekiah comes and says, no, we need to take back.
Some of the things that God.
Has given to us.
Over the past couple of years, we've been fighting some bigger battles than usual, perhaps, and sometimes that gives us in our minds an excuse to let some of the other.
Little things go.
The little things are never as little as we imagine.
And so I would encourage you this morning to resume battles previously lost.
Have you allowed the flesh to dominate certain parts of your life where you've just kind of yeah?
I'm tired of.
Trying to break that habit, I'm trying to tired of trying to remove myself from that addiction to change that conduct I'm tired of.
Working on that attitude, it's just a continual battle. I'm never going to win, and so I might as well just give up in that. And that's of course, the enemy's desire.
Have you given up on battles that God's calling you to fight?
In many cases, we may not ever have a once for all victory.
You may never have the ideal marriage.
But that doesn't mean you should surrender and let the enemy.
Reign in your marriage either.
You may never be free from those anger issues, but that doesn't mean that you should just give up.
And let that anger dominate your life.
You may never conquer your tongue, but that doesn't mean you should just let it loose and let it say whatever it wants to 'cause you just like to speak the truth.
And fight the battles that perhaps you've surrendered.
You've given up on.
And you're not fighting anymore.
Poly, Apostle and 1st Corinthians 9 says I run, thus not with uncertainty.
Thus I fight not as one.
It beats the year, but I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Here you have in.
That the the tone of what Paul is saying here that there is this ongoing battle.
This ongoing fight.
For areas of life that that want to creep in that wants to dominate where the enemy wants to occupy it.
But Paul says.
No, I'm not surrendering this border town.
Yes, this is a weakness that I'm prone to.
This is an issue that comes up in my life over and over and over again, and I'm sick and tired of dealing with it, but I'm not going to give up and just let the enemy run routes.
I'm not not just going to let my flesh have its way.
And maybe for some there is that battle.
That was lost.
And there was that giving up.
Take heed to the example of Hezekiah.
It's not too late to start that battle again.
To go back and say you know what?
I've let this go on for far too long.
I've let the enemy occupy this territory for far too long.
I need to get back engaged in the battle.
And start fighting.
In these border towns in these areas of weakness and difficulty.
And so Hezekiah stands out as a good king who experienced and LED the nation to experience a fresh new work of God.
Let him be an example to you.
And things that.
Distract you from your walk with God.
Head into 2022 with a trust in God like never before, holding fast to his commands, holding fast to obedience to him.
Which may include rebellion against things that are placed upon you from the outside that are not from God.
It may include some battles to fight.
Areas lost areas surrendered in the past.
How did you do in these things in 2021, and how will you do in?
Two listen, it's silly.
I know five points, but.
You got five days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Maybe the Lord would just have you reflect on each of these points one day for the week.
To prepare yourself as you wrap up this year and head into the new Year.
So that you can allow the Lord to speak to you and lead you and how he wants to work in your life and what fresh new work he wants to do for you.
In 2022, Let's Pray, Lord, we thank you for your word. We thank you for the great examples that you provide and gotta pray that you would help us to have great wisdom and insight.
Lord into our own hearts, Lord, that are deceitful and wicked, Lord.
But we pray that you would give us clarity.
That we'd be able to.
See where we stand.
And I pray God.
That you would give us.
Faith and confidence in you like Hezekiah had.
Even though he wasn't perfect in it and we won't be either but Lord me the the summary of our year, the summary of our lives, be that we trusted in you, and that we were obedient to you.
Help us God to draw near to experience all that you have.
We pray this in Jesus name.