The story of King Hezekiah’s besiegement in Jerusalem by King Sennacherib of Assyria is perhaps one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament. It is found smack dab in the middle of Isaiah and is the only narrative in the book (a textual indicator if ever there was one). An almost identical account is also found in 2 Kings 19:30.
Sennacherib mocked the living God (pride) and in light of this Hezekiah prayed (humility). Isaiah’s prophetic response mirrors this: the demise of Sennacherib foretold (Isa 37:21–29) and a promise of hope for Hezekiah (vv. 30–2). God opposed the proud but gave grace to the humble. Three agricultural signs would confirm to Hezekiah that his deliverance was not by chance but according to God’s purposes. A far greater promise was spiritual in nature, that God would preserve a remnant for His glory. The remnant would come through the storm, first take root downward and then bear fruit upward.
The Lord gave me this verse at the end of June when I was reflecting on being at the chapel for 2.5 years (and looking in my sermon folder to see 5 calendar years in which there are now sermon folders for). I felt Satan “tempt me to despair” because in that time, while lots of great things have happened in our fellowship, we’ve not seen any conversions or baptisms. While numeric growth is not the only way to measure growth we certainly wouldn’t mind it! Then I came across Isa 37:1 and I felt as if this perfectly summarised the chapel: a) we have been a faithful remnant that has remained biblically faithful to the Lord when many churches have become synagogues of Satan (Rev 2:9), b) that over the last 2.5 years we have seen modest numeric growth but we have been maturing spiritually (Bible study, prayer meetings, retreats, leadership, fellowship events, preaching, internal health) and have been able to undertake a number of physical upgrades (technology, insulation, windows, website, etc), and c) that we stand on the cusp of the Lord doing great things in our midst (Tots ministry, relationship with the school and community, Cromhall’s 5 Most Wanted, outreach events, sign, etc). Key to bearing this fruit is prayer and humility.
So may we take courage from Isa 37:11, continue to be faithful, continue to become rooted in Christ, and expect that the zeal of the Lord will do still greater things as we wait on Him.
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,