Isaiah 36

Who Will You Believe?

“Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.” ­– Isaiah 36:16-17 NLT

Hezekiah has been warning the people that destruction is on its way. Their sin against God has finally resulted in consequences, and now the Assyrians are literally at the gate. Their armies are camped just outside the city. They have left a wake of destruction in their path and now they are threatening to bring Jerusalem down as well. They demand surrender. They taunt the people, warning them to reject the words of Hezekiah and listen to their offer of peace. They paint an idyllic picture of prosperity and peace – if they will only compromise their convictions and surrender. All they have to do is open up the gates and give up.

Isn’t that just like the enemy. Of course, I’m talking about Satan, not the king of Assyria. Our great adversary, Satan, uses the same exact tactics with us each and every day. He taunts us. He gets us to question the faithfulness and effectiveness of God, asking, “So what makes you think the Lord can rescue you?” He tries to get us to doubt the Word of God and question the servants of God. “Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you!” (Isaiah 36:14 NLT). “Don’t listen to Hezekiah!” (Isaiah 36:16 NLT). “Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you!” (Isaiah 36:18 NLT). If he can get us to doubt God then we are more apt to listen to his lies. And what he has to say to us is always a lie! Satan never tells us the truth. He misleads and misrepresents. He makes false promises and speaks in appealing half truths that cater to our fears and desires. The king of Assyria offers the people of God prosperity and peace. He offers to give them a land just like the one they are in. He promises them a land flowing with grain, new wine, bread and vineyards. He essentially offers them another land of promise other than the one God had given them. He offers a substitute to God’s plan. And that is just what Satan does. It is what Satan did with Adam and Eve. It was what Satan did with Jesus during His temptation in the wilderness. Satan always offers us an alternative to God’s plan. He presents us with a compelling alternative that comes with shortcuts and requires compromises. But if we do it his way, he promises it will be easier.

But who are we going to believe – the enemy or God? Whose word are we going to take? Whose promise are we going to believe? Every day we are given opportunities to trust God or listen to the lies of the enemy. He is the master deceiver. He is a pro at twisting the truth and making disobedience to God sound like good judgment and wise decision-making. He appeals to our self-interest. He plays with our emotions and preys on our fears. He knows we want peace at any price and desire pleasure above anything else. So he promises to give us what we want – if we’ll just give up – open up the gates and let him in. In other words, surrender. And if we leave God out of the picture, that is exactly what we will end up doing. So who will you believe today? When the enemy comes to you with his lies and half-truths, will you listen to him? Or will you take God at His word and rely on His promises? It’s a choice. It’s a daily decision. It’s faith on display.

Father, I want to believe You and not the enemy. Give me discernment to see through his lies. Open my eyes to see truth and not buy into the fiction he offers up as reality. Don’t let fear drive my decisions and desire for peace cloud my decision-making. I want to trust You. I want to listen to You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

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