Sun. a.m. AGCC 1/11/98



TEXT: II Kings 18:5-6b, 17-25; 19:14-19,32-37


If the first step on the pathway to revival is repentance, the second step is complete trust in God! It is not enough to simply turn away from something like sin, we must also turn toward something like God! One of the characteristics of true revival is an almost fanatical trust in God. Absolute trust in God was characteristic of the great champions of God. Often the failure of others in the Bible was due to the lack of trust they had in God or His Word. The quality of our spiritual life can be directly connected to the quality of our trust in God. Hezekiah discovered that it was one thing to tear down the high places (repentance) and yet another thing to trust God completely when the enemy is right outside your door and you are tremendously outnumbered! Trusting God completely however brought a great victory for God and His people that changed the course of a nation....this can still be true today! Are we prepared to trust God completely? PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that God calls us to completely trust Him, and that in doing so we will be victorious over our enemy, even when it seems impossible! Like the Bible states, "Everything is possible for him who believes." (Mark 9:23)


A. Choice 18:5 1. Hezekiah decided early on that his choice was to trust in God! a. This is remarkable in light of the fact that his own father was an evil king who led Judah into sin! b. Hezekiah blames no one for what happens around him, because his trust is in God, not others. 2. Hezekiah's ultimate trust was in God, not man or machines, not armies or weapons, it was in God! 3. Too often our happiness is placed in things or others and when they disappoint us our happiness disappears. a. When our happiness and peace can be taken from us by the actions of others it is an indication that our ultimate trust may be misplaced. b. While we may get disappointed in others, it should not destroy our faith! 4. As a book by Dr. Frank Minirth & Dr. Paul Meier put it; "Happiness is a Choice" - a matter of making the right choice! ILLUS: It is said that as Benjamin Franklin concluded a stirring speech on the guarantees of the Constitution, a heckler shouted, "Aw, them words don't mean nothin' at all. Where's all the happiness you say it guarantees us?" Franklin smiled and replied, "My friend, the Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness; you have to catch it yourself." B. Ceaseless! 18:6a 1. Not only was Hezekiah's trust completely in the Lord, it was ceaseless too! a. Note it states here that he "HELD FAST TO THE LORD AND DID NOT CEASE TO FOLLOW HIM;..." b. This meant that Hezekiah did not only trust in God when things were good, but also when everything seemed to indicate disaster! c. How well do we trust in God when everything is going bad and God seems to be far away!? 2. A relationship to God is not based on just how well things go for us, but on confidence in God's goodness all the time, even in the face of circumstances that seem to defy God's goodness! a. Hezekiah had witnessed Sennacherib capture almost all the cities of Judah and conquer all the other nations around Jerusalem, and it didn't look good for Jerusalem and Hezekiah at this time, but Hezekiah does not alter his confidence in God based on the apparent circumstances, do you? b. Like marriage, "for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health" ... and even against all odds we are called upon to trust in the Lord! 3. Probably one of the greatest weaknesses of Christians today is their wavering faith when things get tough. a. A man or woman with wavering faith is unstable in many ways ... (see James 1:8) b. We need to learn to be confident in God not only when there are visible signs to give us that confidence, but even when those evidences are not present! ILLUS: Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. -- Corrie Ten Boom as quoted by Norman Vincent Peale, In God We Trust (Nelson, 1994), p. 135. 4. The most successful Christians do not let their faithful walk with God go up and down with their circumstances, their faith is rooted in trusting God. II. TRUST THAT DOES KNOW CHALLENGES! 18:17-25 A. Conflict 18:17-18 1. Hezekiah though faithful to God in tearing down all the high places and ridding Judah of idols now faces a crisis that looks like it will destroy him and Jerusalem! a. He does all the right things and instead of things going smoothly, they get worse! b. How many times have you experienced this as a Christian? 2. In honoring God and trusting in Him Hezekiah finds more challenge, not less! a. Christianity is not without conflicts! b. In many ways, trusting in God puts us into conflict with this world! 3. Trust in God keeps us going when others would have given in. ILLUS: Moody's house in Chicago burned down twice; his Chicago YMCA building burned three times. Moody raised funds for the rebuilding each time. -- "D.L. Moody," Christian History, no. 25. 4. Such a terrible conflict facing Hezekiah would not destroy his trust in God, but rather define it! 5. Conflict helps to define our real trust in God, such times make our faith show! ILLUS: Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it. -- Winston Churchill, Leadership, Vol. 1, no. 3. 6. Hezekiah had no other option but to trust in God! a. Sometimes God may bring us to this point. b. At such a junction we must make a choice, to trust or to turn. c. Since Hezekiah "held fast to the Lord," God would help him be victorious! B. Catastrophe! 18:19-25 1. It appeared that Sennacherib had all the winning cards: a. His army had conquered all other groups that came against them. b. No other gods had been able to come against Assyria's power. c. Even Judah's helper Egypt had just recently lost to Sennacherib. d. And...Judah's own God had declared that Assyria was going to be used to discipline Judah, so Sennacherib even appeared to have Judah's God on his side against them!! 2. This was a tough place to be, even Hezekiah knew that God would use Assyria to discipline Judah, but Hezekiah believed this had happened already! a. Sennacherib's invitation to make a "friendly" bargain and avoid terrible pain was a mixed message...offered a way out, but not God's way! ILLUS: This sign was seen at the desk of a country inn in Stow on the Wold, England: Please introduce yourself to your fellow guests since we are one big happy family. Do not leave valuables in your room. --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 368. b. Hezekiah recognized that it was better to trust in God than compromise with the enemy! 3. How many Christians have discovered the sad price tag of compromise instead of trusting in God completely? III. TRUST THAT MAKES CHAMPIONS! 19:14-19; 32-37 A. Conviction 19:14-19 1. As soon as Hezekiah receives the enemy's demands he does the right thing, goes to God with the problem first! a. Goes to God's house and places it before the Lord! b. This is a good model for dealing with a crisis! 2. Hezekiah prays that God will defend His own name, not the name of Hezekiah! a. It is important that our prayers are not done to convince God to do what we would like, but what will bring God the glory! b. Hezekiah's trust in God was based in God's character, not on Hezekiah's desires. 3. Here is where Hezekiah found God's power in trust, it wasn't based on any man, it was based on God's goodness. ILLUS: Years ago a military officer and his wife were aboard a ship that was caught in a raging ocean storm. Seeing the frantic look in her eyes, the man tried unsuccessfully to allay her fears. Suddenly she grasped his sleeve and cried, "How can you be so calm?" He stepped back a few feet and drew his sword. Pointing it at her heart, he said, "Are you afraid of this?" Without hesitation she answered, "Of course not!" "Why not?" he inquired. "Because it's in your hand, and you love me too much to hurt me." To this he replied, "I know the One who holds the winds and the waters in the hollow of His hand, and He will surely care for us!" The officer was not disturbed because he had put his trust in the Lord. 4. Note too Hezekiah's prayer is not wishful thinking, he is honest in his prayer that Sennacherib had laid waste the other nations, but he also acknowledges that the difference between their defeat and Judah's success has to do with the God Judah believes in vs. the idols those other nations held fast to. a. God is enough of a difference to make all the difference! b. Hezekiah's supreme trust was based on God being supreme! 5. Hezekiah's complete trust was based on the fact that he knew God's desire was to make Himself known to all the nations of the world, so this would be an opportunity for this. a. It wasn't an opportunity for Hezekiah to be a big shot, this was for God's glory, not man's. b. We can have absolute trust in God when it comes to defending His name and making it known. B. Confidence! 19:32-37 1. Hezekiah's confidence will not go unrewarded! a. Sennacherib won't even shoot an arrow over the city walls! (this was often done by the commanding officer at first to indicate victory once the battle ensued). b. The enemy won't come through the gates or over the walls! c. There won't even be an opportunity for the enemy to start a siege ramp against Jerusalem! 2. Indeed, though the enemy was over 185,000 soldiers and undefeated in battle, God would give them the victory! 3. Hezekiah doesn't even have to fight this battle, for he had fought it in prayer already. a. That night God's death angel slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. b. Whatever means God used, it made the point...Sennacherib woke to find all the dead bodies and so he humbly returns to the capital city of Assyria, Nineveh. c. The braggadocio's Sennacherib is a broken man while Hezekiah and Judah are whole again! 4. Sennacherib years later is tracked down by his own sons and killed while he was in the temple of his god Nisroch.... a. What a contrast, Hezekiah went to the temple of God and found victory b. Sennacherib went to the temple of a false god and found death! 5. Trusting in the right God completely brought complete victory! 6. Hezekiah could not bring himself to despair even when confronted with overwhelming odds because he knew and trusted in God's character and Word. ILLUS: A minister tells of dispensing food to residents in an impoverished area by means of a "soup kitchen." All of the people were instructed to bring a vessel that would hold about 2 quarts. However, an 11- year-old boy, ragged and dirty but with flashing eyes and a winsome smile, lugged in a container that could hold at least 3 gallons. "We would have been ashamed to have put only 2 quarts into that bucket," said Dr. Barry, "for the youngster came from a large and very poor family. We felt bound to give him at least a gallon, and so we did." The Heavenly Father says to us as His children, "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it." We need to be more like that trusting lad who carried away twice as much as the others because of his large asking! 7. How much trust in God do you have? CONCLUSION: Trusting in God completely may not always be an easy choice, but it will always be the best choice! Trust does not exist in a vacuum, it grows by constant choice and through constant use in the conflicts of life. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding"! Prov. 3:5