Through the Bible – Day 281

Bible text(s)

Hezekiah asks Isaiah for advice

1As soon as Hezekiah heard the news, he tore off his clothes in sorrow and put on sackcloth. Then he went into the temple of the LORD. 2He told Prime Minister Eliakim, Assistant Prime Minister Shebna, and the senior priests to dress in sackcloth and tell me:

3Isaiah, these are difficult and disgraceful times. Our nation is like a woman too weak to give birth, when it's time for her baby to be born. 4Please pray for those of us who are left alive. The king of Assyria sent his army commander to insult the living God. Perhaps the LORD heard what he said and will do something, if you will pray.

5When these leaders came to me, 6I told them that the LORD had this message for Hezekiah:

I am the LORD. Don't worry about the insulting things that have been said about me by these messengers from the king of Assyria. 7I will upset him with rumours about what's happening in his own country. He will go back, and there I will make him die a violent death.

8Meanwhile the commander of the Assyrian forces heard that his king had left the town of Lachish and was now attacking Libnah. So he went there.

9About this same time, the king of Assyria learnt that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was on his way to attack him. Then the king of Assyria sent some messengers with this note for Hezekiah:

10Don't trust your God or be fooled by his promise to defend Jerusalem against me. 11You have heard how we Assyrian kings have completely wiped out other nations. What makes you feel so safe? 12The Assyrian kings before me destroyed the towns of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and everyone from Eden who lived in Telassar. What good did their gods do them? 13The kings of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah have all disappeared.

Hezekiah prays

14After Hezekiah had read the note from the king of Assyria, he took it to the temple and spread it out for the LORD to see. 15Then he prayed:

16LORD God All-Powerful of Israel, your throne is above the winged creatures. You created the heavens and the earth, and you alone rule the kingdoms of this world. 17Just look and see how Sennacherib has insulted you, the living God.

18It is true, our LORD, that Assyrian kings have turned nations into deserts. 19They destroyed the idols of wood and stone that the people of those nations had made and worshipped. 20But you are our LORD and our God! We ask you to keep us safe from the Assyrian king. Then everyone in every kingdom on earth will know that you are the only LORD.

Isaiah gives the LORD's answer to Hezekiah

21-22I went to Hezekiah and told him that the LORD God of Israel had said:

Hezekiah, you prayed to me about King Sennacherib of Assyria. Now this is what I say to that king:

The people of Jerusalem

hate and make fun of you;

they laugh behind your back.

23Sennacherib, you cursed,

shouted, and sneered at me,

the holy God of Israel.

24You let your officials

insult me, the Lord.

And here is what you

have said about yourself,

“I led my chariots

to the highest heights

of Lebanon's mountains.

I went deep into its forest,

cutting down the best cedar

and cypress trees.

25I dried up every stream

in the land of Egypt,

and I drank water

from wells I had dug.”

26Sennacherib, now listen

to me, the LORD.

I planned all this long ago.

And you don't even know

that I alone am the one

who decided that you

would do these things.

I let you make ruins

of fortified cities.

27Their people became weak,

terribly confused.

They were like wild flowers

or like tender young grass

growing on a flat roof

or like a field of grain

before it matures.

28I know-all about you,

even how fiercely angry

you are with me.

29I have seen your pride

and the tremendous hatred

you have for me.

Now I will put a hook

in your nose,

a bit in your mouth,

then I will send you back

to where you came from.

30Hezekiah, I will tell you what's going to happen. This year you will eat crops that grow on their own, and the next year you will eat whatever springs up where those crops grew. But the third year, you will plant grain and vineyards, and you will eat what you harvest. 31Those who survive in Judah will be like a vine that puts down deep roots and bears fruit. 32I, the LORD All-Powerful, will see to it that some who live in Jerusalem will survive.

33I promise that the king of Assyria won't get into Jerusalem, or shoot an arrow into the city, or even surround it and prepare to attack. 34As surely as I am the LORD, he will return by the way he came and will never enter Jerusalem. 35I will protect it for the sake of my own honour and because of the promise I made to my servant David.

The death of King Sennacherib

36The LORD sent an angel to the camp of the Assyrians, and he killed one hundred and eighty-five thousand of them all in one night. The next morning, the camp was full of dead bodies. 37After this, King Sennacherib went back to Assyria and lived in the city of Nineveh. 38One day he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, when his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords. They escaped to the land of Ararat, and his son Esarhaddon became king.

Hezekiah gets sick and almost dies

1About this time, Hezekiah got sick and was almost dead. So I went in and told him, “The LORD says you won't ever get well. You are going to die, and so you had better start doing what needs to be done.”

2Hezekiah turned towards the wall and prayed, 3“Don't forget that I have been faithful to you, LORD. I have obeyed you with all my heart, and I do whatever you say is right.” After this, he cried hard.

4Then the LORD sent me 5with this message for Hezekiah:

I am the LORD God, who was worshipped by your ancestor David. I heard you pray, and I saw you cry. I will let you live fifteen years more, 6while I protect you and your city from the king of Assyria.

7Now I will prove to you that I will keep my promise. 8Do you see the shadow made by the setting sun on the stairway built for King Ahaz? I will make the shadow go back ten steps.

Then the shadow went back ten steps.

King Hezekiah's song of praise

9This is what Hezekiah wrote after he got well:

10I thought I would die

during my best years

and stay as a prisoner for ever

in the world of the dead.

11I thought I would never again

see you, my LORD,

or any of the people

who live on this earth.

12My life was taken from me

like the tent that a shepherd

pulls up and moves.

You cut me off like thread

from a weaver's loom;

you make a wreck of me

day and night.

13Until morning came, I thought

you would crush my bones

just like a hungry lion;

both night and day

you make a wreck of me.

14I cry like a swallow;

I mourn like a dove.

My eyes are red

from looking to you, LORD.

I am terribly abused.

Please come and help me.

15There's nothing I can say

in answer to you,

since you are the one

who has done this to me.

My life has turned sour;

I will limp until I die.

16Your words and your deeds

bring life to everyone,

including me.

Please make me healthy

and strong again.

17It was for my own good

that I had such hard times.

But your love protected me

from doom in the deep pit,

and you turned your eyes

away from my sins.

18No one in the world of the dead

can thank you or praise you;

none of those in the deep pit

can hope for you to show them

how faithful you are.

19Only the living can thank you,

as I am doing today.

Each generation tells the next

about your faithfulness.

20You, LORD, will save me,

and every day that we live

we will sing in your temple

to the music

of stringed instruments.

Isaiah's advice to Hezekiah

21I had told King Hezekiah's servants to put some mashed figs on the king's open sore, and he would get well. 22Then Hezekiah asked for proof that he would again worship in the LORD's temple.

Isaiah 37:1-38:22CEVOpen in Bible reader

Greetings

1From Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

To the church in Thessalonica, the people of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I pray that God will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!

2We thank God for you and always mention you in our prayers. Each time we pray, 3we tell God our Father about your faith and loving work and about your firm hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Thessalonians' faith and example

4My dear friends, God loves you, and we know he has chosen you to be his people. 5When we told you the good news, it was with the power and assurance that come from the Holy Spirit, and not simply with words. You knew what kind of people we were and how we helped you. 6So, when you accepted the message, you followed our example and the example of the Lord. You suffered, but the Holy Spirit made you glad.

7You became an example for all the Lord's followers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8And because of you, the Lord's message has spread everywhere in those regions. Now the news of your faith in God is known all over the world, and we don't have to say a thing about it. 9Everyone is talking about how you welcomed us and how you turned away from idols to serve the true and living God. 10They also tell how you are waiting for his Son Jesus to come from heaven. God raised him from death, and on the day of judgment Jesus will save us from God's anger.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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