June 15, 2014 Series: The Old Testament
Passage: 2 Kings 19:10-19, 32-37
Have you ever had a rival – especially in any kind of enduring struggle? What is it like when they appear powerful and intimidating? In this story, the superpower that destroyed Israel threatened the southern Kingdom of Judah…
MAN VS. GOD
Read 2 Kings 18:13 & 19:10-13. Recall from a few weeks back, we looked at our capacity to be antagonistic toward God (sin). Read Romans 8:7-8. How does this describe the antagonism? The challenge of unbelief is between the word of man vs. the Word of God. How is doubt an attack on God in His holiness (comparing Him to others when He truly is incomparable)? And how is it an attack on you in your trust of the LORD? Read Genesis 3:1-5. How does the message from the Assyrian king sound like Satan in Eden? How have you felt intimidated or mocked for your faith? And how do you typically handle this challenge?
TAKING THREATS SERIOUSLY
Read 2 Kings 19:14-19 & 1 John 4:4. What is it to humble yourself before the LORD (in true prayer)? In faithfulness we take threats seriously, but we also take them where they belong. In vv. 17-19, how can you see Hezekiah being sober that the threat was greater than him? And at the same time, in vv. 14-16, how can you see Hezekiah calling upon the LORD in His holiness?
So in the face of threats, we can foolishly move away from God rather than toward Him. But notice how, even on the cross Jesus moved toward His Father (He cried out after all, “My God” and dying He prayed “into Your hands I commit my Spirit”)! In Christ we can worship and pray, “Save me!” in even the most serious threats. We can be hopeful because God is able to change what we cannot. What threats have humbled you (i.e. the economy, cancer, marriage, your child, your own heart)? How have you been plagued by doubt, especially your confidence in God’s power to answer what threatens you? Confess your doubts to Jesus, asking Him to forgive your unbelief and to secure you in His unrivaled power.
THE LORD’S DELIVERANCE
Read 2 Kings 19:32-37. As He is the only One who changes what we cannot, what has God done to vindicate our trust in Him? As Satan has led us in the vain quest to want to be God, how is it good news that rebel creatures can’t fulfill their ambition? In v. 34, how is the LORD being true to His covenant promises? And from vv. 35-37, how is that a foreshadowing of the Day of Judgment when Jesus will finally and forever put down all who oppose Him?
Never forget! Even by His plan for our redemption, Jesus was cornered with threats from pure evil with only His Father’s Word to trust. Yet He was raised! For a time still, evil is still raging – real and dangerous. And yet, to all who trust Him, Jesus is our Shield and Defender. He is greater than all creatures; no one can snatch us out of His hand; He has sealed us with His indwelling Spirit; and He will finally destroy (as the Catechism says) “all His and our enemies.”
- Worship the LORD for His faithfulness and grace to defend us from all threats, even our sin and judgment. Praise Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for His holiness in that He is unrivaled in His power and goodness!
- How have you been plagued by doubt, especially your confidence in God’s power to answer the critics of our age? Confess your doubts to Jesus, asking Him to forgive your unbelief and to secure you in His unrivaled power.
- Read 1 John 4:4. Give thanks to Jesus for His wisdom against evil. Thank Him for never giving in to temptation or Satan’s deceptions; and thank Him for conquering all evil by His death and resurrection.
- Who do you know that lives under oppression or threats because of their faith in Jesus? Ask the Lord to sustain them and relieve them, to be their Shield and Defender.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray as you should – to motivate you, help you, and guide you in seeking Him. As Jesus turned to His Father in all things, ask for help by His Spirit to rely upon Him more and more.