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Jamie Johnson
1 December 2013

Voices

NOTE: This is a written version of the message I delivered to a group of residents at Kings Daughters Community Health & Rehabilitation Center on December 1, 2013.

We live in a world with many voices. Each individual has a voice. The world has a voice. The flesh has a voice. The devil has a voice. Yet, the Holy Spirit has a voice, too. Do you hear Him? Unless you know Christ, you won't hear the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB) says, "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." In this world of voices, we need to find our true North. Jesus is the voice we need to hear. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" in John 10:27 (NASB). Do you hear Him? Do you know Him?

In the book of Isaiah, chapter 36, King Hezekiah of Judah is reigning. Senacherib, king of Assyria, invades and seizes Judah's fortified cities. Sennacherib sends Rabshakeh to Hezekiah's scribe. Isaiah 36:4-5, 7 (NASB) describes the account:

Then Rabshakeh said to them, "Say now to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, "What is this confidence that you have? I say, 'Your counsel and strength for the war are only empty words.' Now on whom do you rely, that you have rebelled against me? ... But if you say to me, 'We trust in the Lord our God,' is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, 'You shall worship before this altar'?

If Hezekiah listened to Rabshakeh, he would have given up confidence. He would have given up trust in the Lord. However, this field commander is mistaken. Not only does Judah rely on God, but the high places removed by Hezekiah were pagan! Those places weren't sites to worship God. Further, very soon after that, God delivered Judah from Assyria and Sennacherib falls. The field commander was arrogant and wrong!

And that is the enemy's voice, whether we are talking about the world, the flesh or the devil. That voice comes in many ways. In Isaiah 37:9-13 (NASB), Sennacherib of Assyria - another worldly voice - sends a letter to King Hezekiah saying,

When he heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, "He has come out to fight against you," and when he heard it he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus you shall say to Hezekiah king of Judah, 'Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, "Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria." Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, destroying them completely. So will you be spared? Did the gods of those nations which my fathers have destroyed deliver them, even Gozan and Haran and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, and of Hena and Ivvah?'

There are threats. There is discouragement. There is even a belittling of God! If Hezekiah heeded that letter, he would have given up and surrendered or cowered in fear. How would you respond? Hezekiah's response is in Isaiah 37:14-20 (NASB):

Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah prayed to the Lord saying, "O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who sent them to reproach the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated all the countries and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God."

You see, Hezekiah listened to (trusted) the LORD and his response shows that. He went to the LORD, spread it out before the LORD and prayed. That's what we are to do with our discouragements and trials. We need to listen to God's voice so we can do likewise and spread out our concerns at His feet.

In the very next verses, (Isaiah 37:21-38, NASB), the LORD immediately responded:

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is the word that the Lord has spoken against him:

"She has despised you and mocked you,
The virgin daughter of Zion;
She has shaken her head behind you,
The daughter of Jerusalem!
"Whom have you reproached and blasphemed?
And against whom have you raised your voice
And haughtily lifted up your eyes?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
"Through your servants you have reproached the Lord,
And you have said, ‘With my many chariots I came up to the heights of the mountains,
To the remotest parts of Lebanon;
And I cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypresses.
And I will go to its highest peak, its thickest forest.
'I dug wells and drank waters,
And with the sole of my feet I dried up
All the rivers of Egypt.'
"Have you not heard?
Long ago I did it,
From ancient times I planned it.
Now I have brought it to pass,
That you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps.
"Therefore their inhabitants were short of strength,
They were dismayed and put to shame;
They were as the vegetation of the field and as the green herb,
As grass on the housetops is scorched before it is grown up.
"But I know your sitting down
And your going out and your coming in
And your raging against Me.
"Because of your raging against Me
And because your arrogance has come up to My ears,
Therefore I will put My hook in your nose
And My bridle in your lips,
And I will turn you back by the way which you came.


"Then this shall be the sign for you: you will eat this year what grows of itself, in the second year what springs from the same, and in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."'

"Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, 'He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield, or throw up a siege ramp against it. By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he will not come to this city,' declares the Lord. 'For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David's sake.'"

Then the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, all of these were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.

This shows that the Assyrian voices were lies and Hezekiah trusted in the True voice of the LORD. The events came to pass just as God has said through the prophet. Sennacherib's god didn't save him. However, the LORD saved Judah. Our God, the God of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ, is trustworthy!

Psalm 20:7 (NASB) states, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the name of the LORD, our God." Are you doing that today? Are you listening to Jesus instead of the other voices (including our own) that come our way? Those in Christ may hear Him in varous ways: primarily, His Word, but also what He reveals to our hearts, what He may say through other Christian brothers and sisters, through pastors and even through circumstances. Measure the latter against God's Word and check if they are of God. In this world of voices, are you listening expectantly? And in doing so, are you laying down your concerns before Him? You must trust Him as your Lord and Savior, that it was His perfect work on the Cross where His death renders powerless sin in you and after His burial, His glorious Resurrection offers you new life in Him, a life where He has taken your record of wrongs and given you His righteousness. Is He speaking to you now? Is He calling you? If the Spirit is moving in your heart, settle that today!


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