After all these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, intending to conquer them for himself.
I. THAT TROUBLE MAY FOLLOW FAITHFULNESS AS IT DOES FOLLOW SIN. We never read of Israel's serious departure from their loyalty to Jehovah without reading of appropriate penalty coming in due course. Suffering always waits on sin - suffering in some form. But sometimes, as here, trouble comes to the right-hearted; to the nation which has Hezekiah for its king, and Isaiah for its prophet; to the man who is zealous in the cause of his Divine Lord. "Many are the afflictions [even] of the righteous, and sometimes great as well as many. They have a work to do within and beyond, the value of which will immeasurably outweigh the "grievousness of the present" (Hebrews 12:11).
II. THAT IT SHOULD BE MET WITH COURAGE, ENERGY, INTELLIGENCE, AND PIETY. These qualities Hezekiah was now showing. He had given way to trepidation, and he had resorted to means which were unworthy of his position and his piety (see 2 Kings 18:9-16). But now he was in a nobler mood. His courage rose to the occasion (ver. 7); his energy was manifested in the effective measures (vers. 4, 5) he took to distress and to disappoint the enemy; his intelligence was shown in his taking counsel with the strongest and wisest of his people, in the rapidity of the measures he adopted and in their sagacity, and also in his effort to inspire the people with confidence and security; his piety shone forth in his address to the people, calling on them to remember that they had not an "arm of flesh," but "the Lord their God," to lean upon. Let us meet any form of trouble - disappointment, loss, bereavement, sickness, or any affliction whatsoever - in this spirit and with these qualities, and it will not master us; we shall prevail over it. It will not leave desolation and ruin in its track; it will rather leave benefit and blessing behind it.
III. THAT WHEN WE ARE ATTACKED OUR AIM SHOULD BE TO DEFEAT THE ENEMY'S INTENTION. This is not altogether the truism it may seem. Too often men think that their duty and their wisdom under attack is to reply to the enemy in the same form in which he is assailing them. But that may be most unwise. Just as Hezekiah considered what Sennacherib was aiming at, and took prompt and able measures to defeat that purpose; so we should always consider, not the kind of warfare, but the "real objective," the ultimate purpose of our enemy, and should set to work to prevent its realization. He may only be wanting to provoke and disturb us, and we shall absolutely defeat his purpose by not allowing ourselves to be provoked or disturbed; he may be desirous of inducing us to take some compromising step, and we shall gain the victory by refusing to be drawn in that direction; he may want to bring himself into notoriety, and we shall defeat him by quietly letting him alone, etc. Consider his aim, and move so as to thwart that.
IV. THAT RECTITUDE IS THE STRENGTH OF ANY CAUSE OR KINGDOM. Sennacherib's multitude of soldiery was nothing whatever when he deliberately and ostentatiously arrayed them against the living God. Hezekiah's army was indifferent in size and (probably) in military equipment and training, but what mattered that so long as they had righteousness in their ranks and God for their Leader? We are not, indeed, to despise the means which we employ, but it is so much that we may say that it is everything to know and feel that our cause is just, that we ourselves are upright in our heart and character, and that, with perfect purity and simplicity of spirit, we can ask God's blessing on our efforts. - C.
I. THE SPHERE WHICH CHRISTIAN EARNESTNESS OCCUPIES IN THE DIVINE LIFE.
And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good.I. HEZEKIAH'S RELIGION.
1. It was expensive. He set about reforming the national religion. The spirit of such a life should be, must be, respected in every one of us if the religion we possess is to be worth anything. The young man whose mind is that of Jesus Christ has learned to live, not for himself, but for others. Harlan Page was a house joiner at Coventry, in America. His social position gave him but little influence, but what he had he gave to God. He was the living missionary wherever he went. See how God's grace brought him out of self. He wrote: "When I first obtained a hope I felt that I must labour for souls. I prayed, year after year, that God would make me the means of saving souls." Is your position that of a clerk? Imitate David Nasmith, who without talent or money sanctified the desk by working for Christ and perishing souls. He was the founder of City Missions, and the home heathen owe more to the Glasgow clerk than to any man who ever lived. Is your position that of a military officer? Imitate Hadley Vicars. The soldier of the Queen became the soldier of Christ. He had hard work to stand his ground at mess, but he did stand it; and one of the soldiers said, "Since Mr. Vicars became so good he has steadied about four hundred men in the regiment." Is your position that of a merchant? Imitate George Moore, who rose to his partnership by sterling integrity, high principle, and hard work. He had no idea of growing rich and forgetting those by whose labours he accumulated his wealth. Every clerk and servant in his employment knew, in a very tangible way, that a good year's business had been done. In a word, young men, whatever you may be, peer or peasant, professional man or tradesman, merchant or mechanic — come out in God's strength as a religious man, and live for others. Let your sympathies embrace suffering bodies and perishing souls. Never mind being poor. Much of God's work in this world has been done by men of little education, slender means, and few advantages. Do your duty for Christ and your influence will reach further than you think. "Thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah."
2. It was sound. He "wrought that which was good and right, and truth before the Lord his God.." A young man's religion, to be worth anything, must be sound. If he is to do anything which is "good and right and truth," he must —
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) 3. It was whole-hearted. II. HEZEKIAH'S REWARD. "And prospered." 1. His reward was of God. 2. He had his reward in his country. What a benefactor he must have appeared in the eyes of his subjects. 3. He had his reward in himself. (John Burbidge.)
(2) (3) (4) (5) 3. It was whole-hearted. II. HEZEKIAH'S REWARD. "And prospered." 1. His reward was of God. 2. He had his reward in his country. What a benefactor he must have appeared in the eyes of his subjects. 3. He had his reward in himself. (John Burbidge.)
(3) (4) (5) 3. It was whole-hearted. II. HEZEKIAH'S REWARD. "And prospered." 1. His reward was of God. 2. He had his reward in his country. What a benefactor he must have appeared in the eyes of his subjects. 3. He had his reward in himself. (John Burbidge.)
3. It was whole-hearted. II. HEZEKIAH'S REWARD. "And prospered." 1. His reward was of God. 3. He had his reward in himself. (John Burbidge.)
3. It was whole-hearted.
II. HEZEKIAH'S REWARD. "And prospered."
1. His reward was of God.
3. He had his reward in himself.
1. It will make a man think very earnestly for his Lord and Master. In the diary of Jonathan Edwards we find the following account of his feelings towards the Lord's work: "I had great longing for the advancement of Christ's kingdom in the world; my secret prayer used to be in great part taken up in praying for it. If I heard the least hint of anything that had happened in any part of the world which appeared to me in some respect or other to have favourable aspect on the interest of Christ's kingdom, my soul eagerly caught at it, and it would much animate and refresh me. I used to read public news letters, mainly to see if I could find some news favourable to the interest of religion in the world." When we are full of zeal for God it is the same with us.
2. It will make a man plan and purpose for the cause of Christ.
3. It will show itself in perseverance.
4. It will show its zeal in an entire dependence upon God, and in intensely fervent prayer for God's help and for God's blessing.
II. ARGUMENTS WHICH PROVOKE TO THIS EARNESTNESS.
1. The greatness of the work we have to deal with.
2. The earnestness of Satan.
3. The responsibilities which lie upon us as a Church.
4. The onflowing of the stream of death.
5. The love which we have received of Jesus.
III. MAY GOD GIVE ME FRESH GRACE WHILE I UNDERTAKE THE SOLEMN WORK OF DEALING WITH CARELESS AND UNCONVERTED SOULS.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. INDUCEMENTS WHICH SHOULD LEAD US TO ADOPT THIS PRUDENT AND DECISIVE CONDUCT.
1. It saves time; or at least it leads us to apply every part of it to the best advantage. It prevents our life being abridged by years of irresolution and delay. It gives us the assurance that we are husbanding our talent well.
2. It secures our continual happiness.
3. Its beneficial effects on society are incalculable.
II. EXAMPLES OF THIS PRINCIPLE ARE TO BE FOUND —
1. In the Bible. Moses, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc. 2. In general history.The origin and progress of almost everything great and good in society has been achieved by the zeal and active virtues of a few individuals. The advancement of the arts and sciences; the extension of commerce; the blessings and security of a legal government; the inestimable value of a pure and reformed religion, etc. (J. Hewlett, B.D.)
2. In general history.The origin and progress of almost everything great and good in society has been achieved by the zeal and active virtues of a few individuals. The advancement of the arts and sciences; the extension of commerce; the blessings and security of a legal government; the inestimable value of a pure and reformed religion, etc. (J. Hewlett, B.D.)
(J. Hewlett, B.D.)
Monday Club Sermons.A beautiful lily laid in your hand would show you nothing of the mud and slime of the river bed from which it sprung. Like such a lily is Hezekiah, the flower of kings. Some natures seem to grow strong in virtue, by contact with its opposite. Joseph, Moses, end Daniel ripened in strange gardens, and Hezekiah must have sucked honey out of thistles. Consider —
I. HIS REVERENCE. Victor Hugo affirms that neither Wellington nor Blucher won the battle of Waterloo. Napoleon conquered himself. His own excessive weight destroyed the equilibrium. "He vexed God" by his importance, and so his fall was decreed. Hezekiah began his reign by exalting God and humbling himself.
II. HIS RELIGIOUS ZEAL.
III. HIS PUBLIC SPIRIT.
IV. HIS SINCERITY OF HEART.
(Monday Club Sermons.)
I. HE WAS NOT AFRAID OF WORK. He did not seek success without toil. "Depend upon it," said Sir Walter Scott, "there is nothing to be had without labour." Horace Greely said to the youth of America, "The darkest day in any man's earthly career is that wherein he first fancies that there is some easier way of gaining a dollar than by squarely earning it." "When I was a telegraph operator in Pittsburgh," said Andrew Carnegie, "I knew all the men who speculated. I have lived to see all of them ruined — bankrupt in money and bankrupt in character. There is scarcely an instance of a man who has made a fortune by speculation and kept it."
II. HEZEKIAH CONCENTRATED HIS EFFORT. What he did, he did "with all his heart." "The one prudence in life is concentration," says Emerson, "the one evil is dissipation." There is a proverb which says, "A canoe is paddled on both sides," which means that to succeed you must do one thing at a time, and do it with all your heart and all your powers.
III. HEZEKIAH AIMED AT THOROUGHNESS IN HIS WORK.
(A. F. Forrest.)I. We learn from Hezekiah a lesson of CONCENTRATION OF ENERGY.
II. METHOD AND PUNCTUALITY, too, seem to be hinted at in the text, and they are almost indispensable to prosperity.
III. The great lesson is THE VALUE OF THOROUGHNESS in doing whatever we undertake, and doing it well. Do nothing as if it were trifling.
IV. Emulate Hezekiah's ARDENT AND CONSISTENT PIETY. He stands in the front rank among the saints of Scripture as a man of prayer.
(J. Thain Davidson.)
Handbook of Illustration.A number of tiny brooklets will turn no mill, and will probably dry up when the sun is hot, but all the water turned into one channel will move the wheel to grind the corn which may supply a town with bread. All apostles of progress in religion, or science, or philosophy, have been men whose aims have all converged to one great centre, and whose forces have been thrown upon one sublime purpose.
(Handbook of Illustration.)
I. THAT TO ESTABLISH RELIGION IN A LAND IS THE DUTY OF EVERY RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT.
II. THAT TO EMPLOY THE POWER AND APPLIANCES OF THE STATE IN ORDER TO EXTEND THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, IS BENEFICIAL BOTH TO THE INDIVIDUAL AND TO THE NATION AT LARGE.
(Louis Stenham, M.A.)
(C. H. Parkhurst.).
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