Finding Blessing in Trouble
And am I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? the Lord said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it. Isaiah 36:10
suggested further reading: Amos 9
Rabshakeh warns Hezekiah, King of Judah, that it is useless to assemble his forces and to make other warlike preparations against the attack of Assyria. For Hezekiah is not contending with a mortal man, but with God himself, at whose suggestion (not his own) the King of Assyria is attacking Judah. Therefore those who oppose the King of Assyria will fight against God, and all their efforts will be useless.
From this we ought to learn that, however earnestly we may be devoted to godliness, and however faithfully we may labor to advance the kingdom of Christ, we cannot expect to be free from every annoyance. Rather, we ought to be prepared to endure very heavy afflictions.
The Lord does not always recompense our piety with earthly rewards. Indeed, it would be exceedingly unsuitable for us to possess abundant wealth and enjoy outward peace and see that everything proceeds according to our wishes. For the world reckons even wicked men to be happy on the ground that they do not endure bad health or adversity, are free from the pressure of poverty, and have nothing to disturb them. In this respect, our condition would not differ at all from that of the reprobate.
Consider the example of Hezekiah, who labored with all his might to restore religion and the true worship of God, yet endured calamities so heavy and violent that he was not far from despair. We ought to constantly place this example before our eyes so that, even when we think we have discharged our duty, we may nevertheless be prepared to endure conflicts and troubles of every kind. We should then not be disturbed if enemies gain an advantage at the onset, as if all at once they would swallow us up.
for meditation: The example of Hezekiah is a powerful corrective to the “health and wealth” gospel that is common today. Such a gospel can only bring disillusionment when troubles and trials come, as they almost always do. Our assurance of God’s favor must rest in something other than external blessings—it must rest in Christ.