Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving we should be sure to thank the One who is the giver of all good gifts, that is, God.
I . Serving God Faithfully in Peace: II Chronicles 31:20-21
Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. 21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.
Hezekiah was king over Judah. He was a godly king who did what was good and right and true in the sight of God. He did not merely think good things, he did not merely have good intentions, he did not merely say that he was going to do the right things. He did what was right. We need to be people of action, not merely good intentions or words.
Hezekiah served God with all his heart. It was not just done for the sake of appearance. It was not just a minor item on a checklist of things to do. Hezekiah served God with all his heart, and so should we.
As Hezekiah did these things, God caused him to prosper. That was a nice bonus for Hezekiah. God does bless those who serve Him. These blessings come in a variety of ways.
In times of peace and prosperity, we trust God and give God thanks.
II. Serving God in Times of Conflict: II Chronicles 32:1-8
After these deeds of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself. 2 And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, and that his purpose was to make war against Jerusalem, 3 he consulted with his leaders and commanders to stop the water from the springs which were outside the city; and they helped him. 4 Thus many people gathered together who stopped all the springs and the brook that ran through the land, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water?” 5 And he strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken, raised it up to the towers, and built another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo in the City of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance. 6 Then he set military captains over the people, gathered them together to him in the open square of the city gate, and gave them encouragement, saying, 7 “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. 8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
Life is not always easy. There are times of conflict and difficulty. When faced with these challenges, we should evaluate the situation, and take appropriate action. Hezekiah saw the danger, and did what he could do.
When he was encouraging his men he did not emphasis that they were ready, that they were prepared, or that that they were strong. He reminded his men that God was with them. He was not placing his trust in his own strength or preparations, he was trusting in God.
In times of conflict and difficulty, we trust God and give God thanks.
III. The Outcome is in God’s Hands
A. Hezekiah II Chronicles 31:20-23
Now because of this King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried out to heaven. 21 Then the Lord sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valor, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned shamefaced to his own land. And when he had gone into the temple of his god, some of his own offspring struck him down with the sword there.
22 Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. 23 And many brought gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.
God delivered Hezekiah and the nation of Judah from the king of Assyria. There was no battle. The Lord sent an angel who killed so many men during the night, that the survivors left without a fight.
B. Josiah: II Kings 23:29
In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went to the aid of the king of Assyria, to the River Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him. And Pharaoh Necho killed him at Megiddo when he confronted him.
It would be nice to say that those who trust in God and serve Him faithfully never lose… but that would not be true. Josiah was another king of Judah who had faithfully served God. He was in the prime of life when he was cut down in battle. I have sometimes thought that this was unfair, but I recognize that God has reasons for things that we do not know, nor understand.
We are guaranteed victory in the end with the promise of eternal life, but there have been many who have lost their lives while trusting in the Lord their God. Sometimes even faithful servants of the Lord are cut down in battle. We need to remember that our true reward does not come in this life, but in the life to come.
Whether in victory, or defeat, whether in life, or in death, we trust God and give Him thanks.
These are the sermon notes from 11/24. Feel free to make comments or ask questions.
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