Trust

Trust. 

Merriam-Webster defines it as one in which confidence is placed as a noun or to place confidence within as a verb.  Trust is such a fragile thing in the days which we are living.  Who and what can we trust?

Can we trust our government?  Do they really have our best interests in mind?  Our employers?  Our spouse?  Like, are they really working late and how close are they really to that coworker?  Our friends?  Our pets?  Will my dog dig through the trash can the moment that I walk out the door?  Can we even trust ourselves?

Trust is built over time and through relationship.  Trust grows as it is tested and tried and proven to be reliable.  Trust, however, can be destroyed in a matter of moments.

There is only One who is truly trustworthy because there is only One who never changes.  As the scriptures reveal, anyone who puts their trust in the Lord will never be put to shame (Romans 10:11, Isaiah 18:16, Hebrews 13,8).

Truly trusting in the Lord is so much more than mere words, however.  I can tell you that I trust a lawn chair.  I can tell you that it is completely safe to sit in.  I can tell you that it can totally support your weight.  Talk is not the same as trust.  Trust both speaks and acts.  Trust is jumping up and placing as much force as I can with my own body totally and completely into that lawn chair.

Do we truly trust in the Lord, or do we just say that we trust the Lord?

I love these lines in a song of praise that will arise in the end times encouraging us to place and keep our trust in the Lord alone:

Isaiah 26:3-4

3 You will keep in perfect peace

    those whose minds are steadfast,

    because they trust in you.

4 Trust in the Lord forever,

    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

This morning, as a real-life example of trusting in God, we turn to Hezekiah. 

2 Kings 18:1-8

1 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)

5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.

Like many of us, Hezekiah starts strong trusting in the Lord.  He boldly removes any stumbling blocks and hinderances in God’s people following His lead putting their trust in the Lord.  They quickly see the fruits of this choice.  They were successful, they stood up against oppression, they overcame any and every obstacle and enemy that tried to stand between them and God’s promises to them.

Then, like many of us, that trust began to waiver as it was put to the test.  Hezekiah’s enemy, the king of Assyria, found a weakness.  He attacked and successfully overtook the fortified cities of Israel.  This was the northern kingdom of God’s people whereas Hezekiah was the king of the southern kingdom of God’s people, Judah.

Unlike Hezekiah’s trust in the Lord, Hoshea refused to trust in Him and rebelled against Him.  This lead to the nation’s downfall in Hezekiah’s fourth year as king:

2 Kings 18:12

This happened because they had not obeyed the Lord their God, but had violated his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.

Watching God’s people being taken captive and deported into the hands of their common enemy into Assyria must have began to test and challenge Hezekiah’s trust in the Lord.  Most all of us have watched as our fellow brothers and sisters so strong in the Lord lost battles to our common enemy.  It shakes our own faith and can cause us to begin to question our own trust.

If they, who are so much stronger than us in their faith, could fall in battle, then so could we.  Why did God allow this to happen?  Where was He?  What if He allows this to happen to me as well?  What if?  Oh, that piercing, trust-shattering question, “What if?”

Ten years later, Hezekiah’s worst fears began to become his reality.  Though a different king rose up against him (Sennecherib instead of Shalmaneser who overcame Israel), it was the same enemy (Assyria). 

Would he continue to firmly trust in the Lord?  Would he walk by faith in God even though things weren’t looking good?  How could he lead God’s people through this?

2 Kings 18:13-16

13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong. (DOUBT) Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me. (FEAR)” The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace (COMPROMISE).

16 At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the Lord, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

Hezekiah had done nothing wrong in the eyes of the Lord.  Trusting in the Lord and refusing to serve Assyria was not wrong in the eyes of the Lord, but it was certainly wrong in the eyes of Assyria.  Hezekiah gave into doubt. 

Doubting his firm stand to trust in the Lord and refusing to serve Assyria caused him to move in fear.  In fear, he moved his trust into the hands of his enemies and chose to serve their demands. 

Fear lead to compromise.  The very things that belonged to the Lord alone were stripped away from Him and were instead given to the enemy; the king of Assyria.

The law of conservation of mass states that in a chemical reaction, mass is neither created nor destroyed.  This is also true in the law of conservation of energy.  Likewise, trust is never truly created nor destroyed, it just changes and is transferred from one to another.

Hezekiah’s trust wasn’t created in Assyria nor destroyed toward the Lord.  Hezekiah’s trust was transferred from the Lord to Assyria.  Doubt lead to fear and fear lead to compromise.  Sure, battles were lost in the fortified cities of Judah.  However, the greatest battle lost against Assyria was the battle of Hezekiah’s trust.

Those lost cities could have been won back and the nation of Judah spared.  However, when King Hezekiah bowed down and served King Sennacherib, an entire nation was lost.

King Sennacherib sent his field commander to King Hezekiah with a message not only for the king, but for all the people of Judah.  Trust in the Lord is often quiet, steadfast, and peaceful.  The enemy’s demand for trust is often loud, boastful, and chaotic.  It was a demand for trust, a request for the transfer of confidence away from the Lord and to a man-made government of Assyria.  It was even being made by an enemy of the Lord claiming to be speaking on His behalf while at the same time speaking against Him!

2 Kings 18:19-35

19 …“‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? 20 You say you have the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? 21 Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. 22 But if you say to me, “We are depending on the Lord our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem”?

23 “‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them! 24 How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 25 Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the Lord? The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’”

Wow, the enemy defying God claiming to be acting on His word?  What did the governmental leaders of Judah attempt to do to prevent its people from transferring their confidence into the hands of their enemy?  Silence knowledge of this request!

26 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.”

27 But the commander replied, “Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the people sitting on the wall—who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”

28 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’

31 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!

“Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 35 Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”

Hezekiah tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and entered into God’s Presence in the temple.  Although his trust was shaken, he still had a small degree of faith that God would deliver them.  He said, “This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. It may be that the Lord your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.”

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah a word of strengthening and encouragement to fan back into flame the faith and trust of Hezekiah in the Lord.  He said, “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.”

At the same time that Hezekiah received this word from the Lord, he was also given a word from his enemy, the king of Assyria who said, “Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.’”

After receiving these conflicting messages:

2 Kings 19:14-19

14 …he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.

17 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”

The Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer and sent word through the prophet Isaiah once again saying:

2 Kings 19:32-37

32 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria:

“‘He will not enter this city

    or shoot an arrow here.

He will not come before it with shield

    or build a siege ramp against it.

33 By the way that he came he will return;

    he will not enter this city,

declares the Lord.

34 I will defend this city and save it,

    for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’”

35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.

37 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.

This morning, know with certainty that the Lord is trustworthy.  Whether you have never put your trust in Him or you have absolute confidence in Him or your faith is wavering in doubt right now; know that God is worthy of all of your trust.

You may have lost some significant battles. 

Your fortified cities may have been taken captive.

The enemy may appear to be winning right now.

You may be hearing conflicting stories that both seem to speak truth.

Trust wholeheartedly that the war has already been won!

Jesus declared that, “It is finished!”

Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new!”

Let this morning be a turning point.

This morning, no matter how bad things may be looking, seek the Lord in the midst of your defeat just like Hezekiah did.  Transfer whatever trust you may have surrendered to the enemy back to the Lord.

It’s time here and now to hope again, believe again, trust again!

Corrie Ten Boom said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

You may have lost some battles and it may look like a total loss is about to happen.  You may have watched your brother or sister in Christ, who was stronger than you, fall at your side to this same enemy.  However, YOUR destiny is in the hands of the Lord!  He has the final say. 
 

Their loss may be your victory!  Israel’s loss was Judah’s victory.  Israel’s downfall was Judah’s uprising!

Today is a day where, like Hezekiah, we just spread and lay everything before the Lord.  The truth, the lies, the losses, the successes, the fears, the failures, the compromises; everything that we have and everything that we are.  It’s in His hands now and that means that a victory is heading our way!  Our trust is in Him alone!

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