“O Lord, by these things men live,” by Louis A. Dole

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“O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live.” – Isaiah 38:16

Readings

Isaiah 38 · Revelation 8:1-4, 9-13 · Psalm 34

Sermon

In order to understand what the things are by which men live we must know the conditions under which these words were spoken. Hezekiah was one of the good and faithful kings of Judah, Israel’s southern kingdom. The northern kingdom had fallen hopelessly into idolatry, and had been carried captive to Assyria, never to return; and the southern kingdom, the kingdom of Judah, had been almost as unfaithful. Under Ahaz, Hezekiah’s father, the worship of the Lord had largely given place to the worship of idols, and the holy temple had become defiled. Hezekiah destroyed the idols. He even destroyed the brazen serpent, which had been preserved for seven hundred years or from the time of Israeli’s sojourn in the wilderness, because the people were now making an idol of that. He restored and rededicated the polluted temple, and reestablished worship of the one God. He smote the Philistines, Israel’s ancient foe. He did other great works and brought back to the nation something of its ancient glory and power. But in the midst of this achievement and at the height of his power he was smitten with disease, and the prophet Isaiah, his counsellor and friend, was sent to him by the Lord to tell him that he would not recover, but would die.

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“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” – Isaiah 39:2

Readings

Isaiah 39 · Matthew 7:1-20 · Psalm 62

Sermon

Hezekiah had recently been healed miraculously of a fatal illness. Merodach Baladan, King of Babylon, sent a delegation of distinguished Babylonians to congratulate him on his recovery. At least this was the reason set forth by Babylon. We usually have more than one reason for every act, and we do not always give the main one.

The truth was that Merodach Baladan cared little for Hezekiah’s recovery. He was, however, very much interested in the resources of the kingdom of Judah. And this embassy was practically a band of spies instructed to inspect the country and its treasures, so that if Babylon should ever desire to invade Judah, the undertaking could be accomplished more intelligently. Espionage is not new; it goes back into the dim past. Claiming to be solicitous for Hezekiah’s health, this Babylonian delegation came really to inspect the arsenals and the golden and silver treasures which they hoped one day to rifle.

Hezekiah was taken in by their flatteries and showed them his treasures, which had been gathered laboriously through many generations – even the sacred vessels of the temple fashioned of the purest gold.

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“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” – Isaiah 39:2

Readings

Isaiah 39 · Mark 7:1-23 · Psalm 62

Sermon

King Hezekiah had just recovered from an illness that had brought him near to the gates of death. Merodachbaladan, king of Babylon, sent a delegation with a letter and presents, congratulating him on his recovery. At least this was the reason set forth by Babylon. We know that we usually have more than one reason for every act, and that we do not always give the main one.

The truth was that Merodachbaladan cared little for Hezekiah’s recovery. He was, however, much interested in the resources of the kingdom of Judah, and the embassy sent to Hezekiah was really a band of spies sent to inspect the country and its treasures and its weaknesses, so that when Babylon should desire to invade Judah, it could be accomplished more intelligently. Espionage did not originate in Russia; it is a world feature both civil and spiritual.

Claiming to be solicitous concerning Hezekiah’s health, this Babylonian delegation came for the purpose of inspecting the arsenals and also the golden and silver treasures they hoped sometime to possess. In the story it is said that Hezekiah was “glad of them.” He was flattered by their apparent concern, and showed them all his treasures, even those of the Temple itself.

Then Isaiah the prophet appeared to Hezekiah and asked who these visitors were and what they wanted. And when Hezekiah told him, the prophet replied that the word of the Lord was that at some future day Babylon would prove to be a powerful enemy and would plunder the kingdom of Judah and the Temple.

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