2 Kings 15:8-38

Isaiah 1-3

Listen and Believe

In our study today of 2 Kings Israel is starting to fall apart. Our reading covers about 20 years. Israel will have four kings and four dynasty changes. None of these kings were chosen by God.

Things are different in Judah. Uzziah is the king. He is considered a good king who follows God for the most part but did stumble when he became proud. His son Jotham will become king when Uzziah becomes a leper. Jotham will reign for 18 of the 20 years our reading covers. He is a good king and follows God, but there is a problem. In 2 Chronicles 27 we read that though Jotham was a good king the people of Judah persisted in acting corruptly. His son Ahaz, will become king in his place. He will not follow God. Instead, he will corrupt the nation.

Good king or bad king, one thing will become clear. Each of us is responsible for what we believe. What we believe charts our course in life. Every choice we make has a destination. Many people make spontaneous choices without thinking of the consequences only to find out they made a costly mistake. It is like not reading the fine print in a contract or checking the terms and conditions box on the webpage without checking to see what it says. This is blind faith but sometimes the consequences are eye openers! When burned by the consequences we want the government to do something to protect others but for us it is usually too late. We have to pay the price.

This brings us to the book of Isaiah. God sent Isaiah to give Israel and Judah full disclosure of what is coming. The people and leaders have made choices that have harsh consequences. Not only that, but they persist in continuing on the course these decisions have put them on.

The prophesy of Isaiah we read in the first half of the book will have a near and far fulfillment. God is warning of the coming invasion of Assyria who will conquer the surrounding nations and the ten tribes of Israel. Israel will be destroyed and the people killed or captured. Those who are captured will be exiled throughout the Assyrian empire. Assyria will also take the outlying areas of Judah and surround Jerusalem but God will intervene and they will not enter Jerusalem. This is the near fulfillment.

BUT, there is a far fulfillment that concerns us. The Assyrian invasion is a picture of what is to come, and this concerns us today.

We presently live in the Church Age. One day God will take the Church out of this world. The Church will be caught up to Heaven to be with our Lord Jesus. This is known as the rapture of the Church. When the Church is taken from earth a new world ruler will arise. He is known as the antichrist. He will seem like what the people want but he will break the promises he made in order to gain power in his attempt to rule the world. He will seek to destroy Israel and any followers of Jesus. There will be great cataclysmic events that will take place during this time which is known as the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation will last for seven years. At the end of the Great Tribulation the Lord Jesus will return with His Church, the antichrist and his false prophet will be thrown into hell. The Lord will set up a new age called the Millennium. The world will finally be put in order. The world will be in perfect peace and harmony for 1000 years.

Well over half of the world’s population will be killed during the Great Tribulation. It will be a time of unimaginable trial and difficulty that the world has not seen in its history. However, we can choose to avoid it.

The prophesy of Isaiah is like reading the fine print of the courses in life that we can take. We need to read and heed God’s repeated warning. God will show the nation where they are on the path they have chosen and where the choices they made will lead. As we look at this book we can also see where we are on the path we have chosen and where that path is leading us. We must remember that what the nation went through is mild compared to what is ahead for the world during the Great Tribulation.

 You and I can escape what is to come by committing our life to Christ Jesus. Beware though, God wants a serious commitment not a causal one. God is showing us that what the people did was based on what people believed. The old saying, “actions speak louder than words,” is true and shows what one really believes. Let the book of Isaiah be like the mirror you look at before you go out for your day in the world.

Listen and believe!

Pastor Dave