Study 10 SPREADING OUR TROUBLES BEFORE THE LORD
HOLDING OUT THE WORD OF LIFE
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Isaiah 37:14-21, 36)
It is the common experience of believers, as well of unbelievers, to experience trouble and trial - compare Job 5:7 and 14:1. If you are passing through a time of great trouble now, this short study will help you to face your trouble and to be victorious in the midst of it, because in Isaiah chapter 37 we read of a great threat that came to King Hezekiah in the form of a letter (Isaiah 37:14). Notice exactly how the trouble came, what Hezekiah did, and how he faced this trouble.
1. Notice how troubles come upon us
- 1. They come suddenly. Hezekiah’s letter came out of the blue. Perhaps we open a letter and at once realise we are in trouble! Sometimes it is a telephone call, a visit to the doctor, or a misunderstanding that arises between ourselves and someone else; sometimes it is the result of overwork, of strain or of an accident; sometimes it is the result of our own folly and sin (Psalm 32:1-5).
- 2. They come with other troubles. The old proverb says, ‘Troubles come in pairs’! It was something like this in the case of Hezekiah, who was brought under great pressure by the threat that was made by his enemy.
- 3. They can be overwhelming. Sennacherib and his servant Rabshakeh were terrible enemies, and their preparations for invasion and the announcement of their evil intentions nearly overwhelmed Hezekiah. Little wonder that he trembled when he received the letter!
Sooner or later every Christian has these experiences; but we must ask, How should we react when trouble comes upon us? What should we do when we receive an evil letter or when we are involved in an upsetting experience? - because the important point is not the things that happen to us, for we cannot prevent these - but our reaction to the experiences that come.
2. What to do when trouble comes upon us
Verses 14-20 tell us this, so it is worth studying this section with care:-
- 1. We must clearly see what the trouble is. Notice in verse 14 that we are not only told that Hezekiah received the letter but that he read it. When trouble comes we must sit down quietly and weigh the matter up; we must face it; we must see exactly what it is and what is involved.
- 2. We must take the trouble to the Lord at once. Hezekiah “spread it out before the Lord” (verse 14). He most certainly shared the contents with his friends and counsellors, but he brought the whole matter to the Lord first.
- 3. We must talk to the Lord about our trouble. In verse 15 we read that Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. He was a man of faith, and here we see his faith working (James 2:17,20,26). There is a wonderful therapy in taking your trouble to the Lord and talking to Him about it, for apart from any other consideration, ’a trouble shared is a trouble halved’. How true this is when the One with whom you share your trouble is the Lord Himself.
- 4. We must recognise and rejoice in God’s greatness and power - verse 16. If God is so great and mighty is anything too hard for Him? See Genesis 18:14 and compare Luke 1:37. God knew all about Hezekiah’s trouble and He allowed it. God was on the throne and He still is; He knows all about your trouble, and He also loves you.
- 5. We must assure ourselves that God cares for us and is willing to help us. Hezekiah was sure about this and that is why he turned straight to the Lord. It is as though he said, ‘I must take this to my Father. I’m His child and I’m sure He will see me through.’ Even if you have brought your trouble upon yourself by your own folly and sin, the Lord still loves and cares for you.
- 6. We must ask God to undertake for us. In verses 17-20 we have the record of the definite, specific prayer that Hezekiah made to the Lord, and this prayer is summed up in the three words in verse 20 - “Lord …deliver us...” God is always ready to hear a prayer like this - look up Romans 10:13.
- 7. We must make sure that our motive is right. Hezekiah’s motive in asking for deliverance was the glory of God (second part of verse 20).
3. How the Lord undertakes for us in our trouble
In verses 21-38 there are three important things to notice:-
- 1. He gives us words of assurance and comfort: “Then Isaiah…” (verse 21). Isaiah was God’s prophet and it was through him that the Lord spoke to Hezekiah, giving him words of assurance. He does this from His own Word as we read it, or as we listen to it through a preacher; He gives such words as Psalm 37:23; Psalm 50:15; Isaiah 41:10; Jeremiah 33:3; John 10:28-29.
- 2. He takes our trouble in hand and promises to deal with it. By reading from verse 21 to the end of the chapter you will see how the Lord did this in answer to Hezekiah’s prayer; particularly notice verses 33-35. If you will commit your trouble to the Lord and trust Him with it He will undertake for you - see Psalm 37:5.
- 3. In God’s own time He will fulfil His word to you. Perhaps He will not do this immediately - look again at verses 36,37,38, and notice the word ’then’ at the beginning of verse 36. This speaks of God’s time.
Troubles and difficulties will surely come until we reach the end of the journey and go to be with the Lord, but the important thing is the way we react to these troubles. We must follow the example of Hezekiah and spread our troubles before the Lord and look to Him to see us through.