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The Rest of the Story

Richard Walton

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  • March 21, 2009
    10:00 AM
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case -based planning were long since gone the nation was in economic collapse banks and trading houses were closed fields said empty with crops harvested cities lie deserted and broken by violence and would those who could still find work look to the future where no one guaranteed security and safety the enemy could attack anywhere at any time terror and homes and churches and schools is politically and militarily the nation 's power was shrinking and the political leadership had to contend with the warrior that it was losing that people having enjoyed the good life and in the meantime wasting away the precious moments of opportunity to fulfill God 's purpose in putting them there I spent all my time fighting with each other until with little left other than bitter memories of what I said behind the chosen now found their horizons shrunk to the small encircling walls of one in battle is is seven twenty two BC in from the north the mighty Assyrian army has swept across the promised land like a horde of hungry grasshoppers they driven everything in their path every nation that is that against them is fallen every city that is tried to withstand has been breached and its inhabitants scattered to the four wins Israel is the great nation bordering Jude all that cities the of the wonderful commerce and ready repositories of wealth and ease in which God 's people are done financially well while becoming spiritually bankrupt and factor the point of allying themselves with pagan king so they can more effectively fight with each other those days are gone God 's people have been scattered to the winds Judah and the most of its cities and likewise fallen in a breathtakingly short period of time entire collection of those nations of believers and people of all felt the same way of themselves wiped off the face of the map above the last tiny toehold that is less to God 's true people throughout the promised land is the embattled city of Jerusalem and so there they sit gone from enjoying the good life to wondering just how much longer the walls can hold out the screaming dark and scream it does voice and with a message in voice of the giant that many of us might recognize today the voice of doubt of fear and of the future filled with certain failure let's open the word I say chapter thirty six Isaiah chapter thirty six and verse one came to pass in the fourteenth year of the king Hezekiah that Sinnott Karen King of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and in what that all of them then the king of Assyria sent wrap shack up with a great army from lack he should to have the triad Jerusalem and he stood by the aqueduct from the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller 's Field and then wrap shack I call the stood out with a loud voice in Hebrew instead hear the words of the great king the king of Assyria that says McCain do not let Hezekiah deceive you for he will not be able to deliver you and don't let every of you make a mistake and let Hezekiah and letting Hezekiah on you into thinking that your God is going to be able to deliver you because heating not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord saying the Lord will surely deliver us the city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria do not listen to him at any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria or are they God from our pod where the gods of Safari and DNA delivered Samaria from my Philemon all it got to the lands and delivered their countries from my hand of the Lord should deliver the city Jerusalem from my it is a time of trouble hold that thought all that mental image because of that want to take you through a brief survey is just a couple of chapters in the book of Isaiah my my message for today is a message for the troubled times in which we lived I've entitled with the rest of the story and just a few chapters in this amazing book of the Bible Isaiah gives us for fascinating views of the God we serve use that are incredibly relevant for a troubled time in which anybody who's not afraid of the future simply isn't turning on the news you number one to number one from Isaiah the redeeming Lord in times of crisis Isaiah reminds us that we serve a God who loves us in spite of our failures and was always working throughout our lives throughout the challenges the triamcinolone failures to make us better people that I have a question I'd like your help with what is the real point of the Bible the sixty six books twenty five hundred years worth of literature much of it written quite literally in blood what does all this stuff mean if you had to condense the Bible down to a simple question what would it be God 's plan of salvation was God who is God certainly this book reveals God to us and yet at the same time we know that from holy Scripture that the greatest mystery of all is godliness and it's something that in fact created lines with an entire attorney you reflect on it will never fully understand that we get such a wonderful insight into the God we serve from this book what other ideas do you have what does this thing really mean especially in a time of crisis pardon the guide to abundant life negative unlike any other thoughts I suggest to you some and I always try to tell my law students if you can frame the issue you can solve any question you give me the right questions ask a jury in FIF it the right way I can usually get the jury committee answer that I want to hear for instance if you frame the question of was it an exercise of a salad exercise of discretion for a police officer to use his baton rouge subject was charged with aggravated assault murder and take a suspect into custody your answer would probably be asked the question is there any way to justify a police officer beating unarmed man six times on the head with his baton before cuffing him and in fact twice after tapping him what's your answer bring the issue you can answer any question the question the Bible asks you I submit to you this morning can be summarized in six simple words do you really trust the Lord to you really trust the Lord time after time Scripture reveals us with stories of crises and failures of opportunities gone wrong both personal and national apostasy stories when everything was stacked against God 's people and looked like there was no way through Israel at the Red Sea Israel of the Jordan Joseph a bright young dreamer sold in the slavery locked away in Egypt Moses wandering in the wilderness for so many years wondering how a life that had so much promise could go so wrong Gideon in this handful of warriors against the superior military force over and over the Bible challenges us with stories where humanly there is no way through the storm and despite his better catalogued repeated personal and institutional failures one by one the Bible stories exist to tell us the rest of the story and every one of those stories of trial and prices for every failure personal lives and institutional this catalog in the Bible there is also a store of divine power of divine love of second chances and ultimately of trying of heroes of faith finally learning to really trust the Lord one thinks of David and his vile sins of the God who could forgive him so completely that he would later pray to be judged because he knew his Redeemer one thinks of the nation of Israel and its consistent failures despite God 's millennia long patience in trying to give them the health of prosperity in the piece by which they could show the world the happiness inherent in doing things God 's way one thinks of dear old Abraham of his repeated failures of God 's tests of faith until at last he demonstrated on a mountain called maria he had a blast finally and truly learn to trust the Lord and for those who can accomplish that Isaiah has a very special passage that I like to share with you this morning and in Isaiah 's view number one of a redeeming and loving Lord Isaiah chapter forty nine I prefer the new international version visit just it it does something very special with the language the NIV doesn't always do that but I love her the way they translate this text before I was born the Lord called me from my birth he has made mention of my name he made my mouth like a sharpened sword in the shadow of his hand he can he said to me you are my servant Israel in whom I will display my splendor but I said I have labored to no purpose I spent my strength in vain for nothing and now the Lord says it is too small a thing for you to be my servant I will also make you a lot I for the Gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the year Isaiah reminds us and you number one we serve a God who is more powerful and all of our individual and personal failures I got it in love are flawed and frail cells enough to not just call us his servants but also to take our lives and turn them into a witness for others there is perhaps a better example of this in the lifetime of the Prophet Isaiah himself we know not a lot of that Isaiah do what we can glean from the Bible and from some ancillary historical sources tells us that he was probably born one might say with a silver spoon in his mouth he was born to a wealthy and influential family quite possibly a cousin in fact of King Azariah himself Isaiah began his ministry into the ring and reign of King Azariah was one of the longest-serving prophets of Israel something like sixty four years of ministry is also one of the more important he was a prophet of Israel under Kings as a riot yellow from age as Hezekiah during his ministry he repeatedly warned Israel and Judah of the consequences of apostasy and unfortunately had the terrible burden of living to see those prophecies fulfilled his two sons names reflect the troubled times in which he lived his older son was named my hard shell out cash buys which literally translated yet I don't know how to get your middle schools literally translated means destruction is imminent his other son 's name was sheer Jack Hsu which holds up a whole the literal translation being the remnant will return fax something most people don't know about the prophet Isaiah 's legal record in biblical history for the longest time anyone walked around naked to make a point forgot you don't believe me turning Isaiah chapter twenty verses two and three Isaiah chapter twenty verses two and three remember the real issue of the Bible do you really trust the Lord well Isaiah demonstrated a very special and personal way that he really trust the God at the same time respect the Lord by Isaiah the son of a Moses saying go and lose the sackcloth from off-line lines but I think she is from my foot and he did so walking naked and barefoot and the Lord said like as my servant Isaiah 's walk naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia now I am not suggesting to you that God is calling you to go minister in the new discount fact one is reminded of the story of a preacher who was invited to address a nudist colony wrestled with himself finally figured sports follow the biblical example be like I say until the flow came down they could deliver his address to find all the new discipline close to honor him talk about trusting the Lord Isaiah really put it all out there when the Lord asked him to do so second one of the longest and most comprehensive books of the entire Bible Isaiah prophesies about not only the captivity and restoration of Israel he prophesies about the first engine the ministry of Christ and in some of the most beautiful language in all of Scripture the Torah and the half Torah it looks so far forward into the murky mists of time that he foresees and describes made turn one chapter back from that place that I left you with the mental image of the screening pig in general yelling insults at the face of God and you'll find Isaiah chapter thirty I the chapter right before that people face one hundred greatest crises Isaiah does lyrically beautiful language describes a cosmic rescue and the beauties of the world made me the wilderness of the wasteland shall be glad from the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rooms it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it they shall see the glory of the Lord Excellency of our God strengthen the weekends and make firm the feeble knees say to those who are fearful hearted be strong and do not fear what's the next passage behold what your God will come Isaiah is talking about the second coming not only will your God and your God will come with vengeance with the recompense of Almighty God he will come he will save you in the eyes of the blind shall be opened the ears of the deaf and stop the lame shall eat like a deer in the tongue of the dumb shall sing water shall burst forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert no lien shall be nor shall any ravenous beast go up with the redeemed shall walk there in the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion was singing with everlasting joy on their heads they shall obtain joy and sadness joy and gladness and sorrow shelf for your way in one very short chapter Isaiah paints a beautiful word picture of the paradise that awaits us when one day God takes this awful mess we made it is little blue white world and turns it into something beautiful where one might venture to say AIG executives can sit next to members of Congress and the public and not fear for their lives or their bonus checks I said knows quite a lot about conflict during Isaiah 's lifetime Israel and Judah experienced one of the worst political and military upheavals in their long and frequently ugly history of Israel and Judah as I told you allied themselves with foreign pagan powers Israel was Syria Judah with Ethiopia in Egypt so that they could more effectively each others brains out and say there is in fact no fight uglier than fights between believers is all I said correctly prophesies the Judas triumph Judah will triumph over an apostate Israel in its pagan ally Syria but he also warns them that if they do not turn that victory into something special if they do not remember who gave it to them there's got to be another army it's a sweep through the land the army of the Assyrians and all the victories and all the promise will disappear unfortunately flushed with triumph over their fellow believers and blinded by the good life that seem to be theirs for the taking Judith course quickly forgot who gave them that victory and so in view number three having one at all lost it all right sentiment that some of us can understand and make the mistake of investing in the stock market we can see view number three courtesy of Isaiah the prophet a protecting Lord we find ourselves back in chapter thirty seven of Isaiah back the walls of Jerusalem listening yet again to the braggadocio 's blasphemies of a general who knows he's already one the battle at sometime when Giants and they start knocking us in knocking our God knocking our faith and asking us if we really can trust the Lord they don't just come once do they become from different angles at different times and so it was for King Hezekiah Petty stood outside the wallet screams his insults so that all of the inhabitants of Jerusalem could hear them are good and general returns and nails a communicative state to the King he argues as gone verse eight of chapter thirty seven rep shack I return this and sends messengers to Hezekiah saying let not thy God in whom you trust this evening now what is the difference between the attack here what is and was the giant doing the first time the giant is appealing to the people to the body of believers to peer pressure there's no faster way to overthrow a leader dancing the act or in fact an individual offensive yet everyone around them saying worked on a loose white we just feel the first attack is an appeal to peer pressure and appeal to other believers could cause Hezekiah to question whether he can really trust the Lord that doesn't work and so on a much more personal way at questioning voice comes back to Hezekiah individually and says oh King Hezekiah don't let your God in whom you trust deceive you saying Jerusalem will not be given into my hand behold you have heard what the kings of the Syria the all the lands destroying them utterly and the gods of those nations delivered them from my hand militarily the battle is hopeless Hezekiah 's commanding a starting city under arm undermanned waiting for the end let's try to draw the picture here in a way that appeals to me I know that you would admit to ever watching anything is whose wives wrestling I occasionally did so let me set it up for you folk on how I can on the left-hand side of the rain ladies and gentlemen the wrestling match of the century one starting city but a prophet who ran around naked for three years on the right-hand weighing in at one hundred and eighty five thousand square wielding Assyrian killers is the Assyrian army led and ran in a humanity can't see any way that this means good at that point who could possibly blame God 's followers are King Hezekiah for just giving up yeah try yet followed you worship your honor guide you did your best and if indeed God had feared he wouldn't have let this happen would he know a loving God could let every walled city in Judah fall to an enemy came no loving God to lead his people be driven from their homes and scattered like the wind certainly an all-powerful God I would never sit idly by while a pagan general stands on the potter 's field and yelled insults at the very edge of his holy city but our time is not God and it is in our greatest moments of crises when it seems that there is no way out times when even the most ardent believers and even that the great giants of faith who we read about in this book times when even they had failed and failed repeatedly to really trust God it is in those times but amazing things begin to happen Isaiah thirty seven chapter fourteen in chapter thirty seven verse fourteen Hezekiah goes out to the house of the Lord Allen times are hard it's a good place to be is that it's a good place to be in the house of God Hezekiah takes that letter that communicated soon as you can't really trust God look around you Hezekiah had already lost do the decent thing and just quit while you still have the ability to say I surrender Hezekiah takes that letter spreads it before the new praise to God saying O Lord of hosts God of Israel the one who dwells between the chair you are God and you alone you of made heaven and earth incline your ear a lowered year open your eyes the Lord see hear all the words it's not which is sent to reproach you truly were the kings of Syria have laid waste all the nations and their lands and cast their gods into the fire for they were not God 's the work of men's hands wood and stone therefore they destroyed them now therefore oh Lord our God in a cry for help save us from using the United States military real codeword for this worse pass the Army has frequently use the code phrase broken arrow when you're on the ground a long way from home and the enemy is about overrun your position there is one last radio call every American serviceman even if there's only one left who can get to a radio can make broken arrow that lets a hundred and fifty five millimeter artillery ten miles to the rear that Air Force and Navy combat aircraft within a two hundred mile radius the rifles Canon initials of the United States Navy offshore know that there is a American in need and when that happens every last ounce of power that this great nation can bring to bear is unleashed broken arrow or out were hurting we've got nothing left please send whatever you can help us but asking alone isn't enough if it was the wall cities of Judah would never fall remember the point of the Bible is do you really trust the Lord if you have the courage to ask and that all important thing the right answer to that question the faith you really believe in him it is impossible to underestimate the response you will get edgy it is darkest hour a man of faith a man with enough faith and enough courage to walk around naked for three years because God said so stands up and claims and possible victory verse twenty one and Isaiah the son of Amos Center Hezekiah saying us says the Lord because you have prayed to me against inaccurate king of Assyria this is the word the Lord has spoken concerning him the Wilmot into this city he will not shoot an arrow here he will not come before it was shield he will not bill the siege mound against it for what for I have reinforcements coming from Egypt for I will say this city broken arrow indeed the city of Jerusalem wounded and dying piled on its walls nearly overrun saved by a godly king and a man of faith who make that final appeal to heaven this is Jerusalem six actual weird heavy contacted about to be overrun we are requesting fire on their own position and back from heaven come those wonderful words copy Jerusalem six one Angel loaded and ready firing for effect oh yes indeed a match not for the century but for the agents on the whole less a hundred and eighty five thousand combat hardened troops who've never lost a fight on the right one Angel of the cosmos on an errand from the throne let's get ready to run next morning there are a hundred and eighty five thousand corpses to be buried in a broken pagan king who wants starting on the world and dared to blaspheme the Almighty driven back to his home to be murdered by his own two cents November three of protecting Lord we learn that for believers in troubled times at the moments of our greatest crisis heaven is closest and more than able to help we are also reminded that just because God doesn't answer immediately is because her finally pushed back to that one last toehold doesn't mean he isn't there and won't help us there is one last and more subtle lesson to be learned from Isaiah time to go through it quickly because I know our time draws short view number for a communicating Lord knows how Isaiah story about God 's deliverance of Jerusalem and its darkest hours right next to a prophetic prediction of an earth made new there is an interesting pattern if you look at Scripture that seems to repeat itself throughout history and that is new prophecies always times of crises and at a time when a prior prophecy is being fulfilled Isaiah prophesied the arrival of the Assyrian army of Israel lost its way and indeed that came to pass at the same time the nation found itself in a great crisis I'd like to just put up a brief chart for a here and leave you something to think about throughout the history of the Bible you'll find that every major event in history is prophesied and right before it occurs there is a time of crisis is the prophecy is fulfilled another profit rises who in turn will another prophecy about the future of what the flood was prophesied by Noah in the and when it came time to be fulfilled even I start getting it passed but no one was on scene to give one last final warning message the Egyptian captivity of Israel and the restoration foreseen and predicted by the great old patriarch of faith Abraham himself who was present when it's time for Israel to go home God raises up a prophet his name is Moses the Babylonian captivity in turn is predicted by Moses at a time of great turmoil and the fulfillment of the prophecy that Israel would leave Egypt when the Babylonian captivity happens God raises up a prophet Jeremiah who in turn prophesies of the restoration of Israel to the promised land when it is time for Israel to go home got raises up another prophet who is Nehemiah the first day is predicted by the very gentlemanly been discussing Isaiah and David among others when it is time to come the past God raises up another profit John the Baptist now Danielle in turn right around the time of the restoration prophesies of final judgment and Jesus himself during the first at them prophesies that there will be a second engine think about that pattern folk if you are living in a time of great crisis if you are living in a time of prophetic old film units only God is not going to raise up a prophet in fact Scripture tells us that he will jolt to Joel to verse twenty eight shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh your sons and daughters shall prophesy your old men shall dream dreams your young men shall see visions and also upon my menservants and on mine maidservants I will pour out my spirit in those days in this our final view of God Isaiah sets forth a pattern that is repeated throughout the Bible and he gives us confidence that in troubled times we still know the rest of the story thanks to a handmaiden we know there is a time coming when things will not recover in time of trouble worse than any recorded history and remember that includes a time and world history in which things were so bad following the collapse of the Roman Empire that most people were struggling so hard to survive they could even pause to record their misery history records is the dark ages and a lost period of a thousand years of human history if there is a time coming worse than that so today and in an age when the world as we know it is changing rapidly and not always for the better for quite honest with ourselves the words of our heritage words of a young woman who had a rare gift devising the gift to look into a bad future and see with confidence the rest of the story should be especially close to us the time of trouble such as never was is soon to open upon us and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess in which many are too inland to obtain it is often the case the trouble is greater in anticipation then in reality but this is not true of the crisis before us the most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal and at time of trial every soul must stand for himself before God and I could dwell on the problems facing this country I love this country dearly and I expect to see it recover we as Americans have always found a way to use times of great distress to make ourselves and our nation a stronger more prosperous and more wonderful place to be I expect that to happen but I leave with you today a simple thought is forced view of God Isaiah gets instantly connecting Lord whether it is now in the trials we face in the coming months and years are whether it is a time of trouble spoken of in the great controversy each of us sooner or later must like the occupants of Jerusalem so long ago if a surgeon 's and when we do the spirit of prophecy also tells us the rest of the story and assures us that we can do so on a frame as the wrestling was urged verifications before God and I quote again the veil separating them from the unseen seems almost withdrawn the heavens glow of the donning of eternal day and like the malady of Angel songs the words fall upon the ear stand fast your allegiance help is coming Christ the Almighty Victor holds out to his weary soldiers a crown of immortal glory and his voice comes from the gates of GR low I am with you I have fought the battle on your behalf and in my name you are in there's what are your giants this morning the big ugly doubts about ourselves our futures our relationships and our hopes the financial and personal calamities the chair since we had such a hard time beating back I say to you today as we sit here and ponder bad economy friends and loved ones losing their jobs long and painful job searches for those entering the job market these days mounting debts and shrinking assets I say to you that those giants are just mocking you they are mocking your God and your faith they are asking you to doubt your answer to that one all-important question from this book we study each week do you really trust the Lord and if you're ever tempted to doubt if you're ever tempted to wonder why God I hasn't answered yet remember that the most dangerous thing on earth a giant can do is challenge your no matter how bad it is just think back across the ages to the memory of a small city that had it worse than a man of God who looks forward to this time who in fact could look past this time you tell us of a better world where lions can sleep next away and I remind you that whenever God 's people have nothing left and ask him a simple question whom shall I send and who will go for me the Lord himself for that awesome blue gold throughout says here am I send thank you and God bless you dear Lord we come to you in in troubled times and times where each of us in different ways have challenges to face we thank you for always being there we reaffirm our knowledge that you are and we ask you that when the real challenge comes when the peer doubts in the personal doubts get to the level that we can't see a way through we just ask you to give us the faith to really trust you in Jesus name and

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