Sunday, August 21, 2016


Throughout the reign of Ahaz and Hezekiah, two Old Testament Kings, there were two temptations which gripped God’s people. Under the reigns of previous kings, Uzziah and Jotham, Judah had enjoyed a prolonged period of peace and prosperity, but now everything seemed to be in peril. Internally, the social and economic fabric of the nation was fraying. Externally, neighboring empires were flexing their muscles and threatening Judah with invasion. So it was a time of national crisis, and the crisis wasn’t just that the nation was changing for the worse, the very existence of their nation and the safety of their children was in jeopardy. And in the midst of these very serious crises the people of Judah began to cast about for anything that might promise a continuation of the peace and prosperity they had experienced up to that point. So they began to add idol worship to the worship of the Great Jehovah. From their perspective, they weren’t abandoning God exactly. They were just covering their bases by also worshipping other gods. But that’s not how it works, is it? After all, how many of you wouldn’t mind sharing your spouse with another? That’s about how God felt, and he says as much in Isaiah 52 (7-8),

“You have committed adultery on every high mountain. There you have worshiped idols and have been unfaithful to me. You have put pagan symbols on your doorposts and behind your doors. You have left me and climbed into bed with these detestable gods. You have committed yourselves to them. You love to look at their naked bodies” NEW LIVING TRANSLATION

And there was also strong and vocal faction of the king’s court arguing that Judah should pursue alliances with strong neighbors such as Egypt who could come to their aid if they were attacked. This displeased God because it meant that the people were not putting their trust in Him, but in that of man.

Isaiah 30:1-3
 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.

And 31:1
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord.

The real issue for God’s people in the days of Isaiah was which would they choose- Would their confidence be in God or in desperate alliances? Would they say like David Psalm 20, Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Or would they jump ship and jump into bed with idols and Egypt? This was the great question hanging over the Judah of Isaiah’s day, and what they did with that question had great consequences.

And I feel it is a question that is also hanging heavily over the church in America today…especially in an election year. I think for many Christians they have allowed their sense of security to become attached to the strength of the economy rather than in a provider God, or in election results rather than in our great King, or who sits on the supreme court, rather than a God who sits on high. Their fear over the state of things in our country has caused some in the church today to throw their support behind candidates who do not fear the Lord and who do not love righteousness. Christians in this country have enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity that is unprecedented in the history of the world. But now, just like in the days of Ahaz and Hezekiah, all of that seems to be in peril. And just as in those days, one of the great issues of our day is whether we will choose, at this critical hour, to proceed with a quiet confidence in God or will we make desperate alliances.  

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