When the Promise Suddenly Feels Light Years Away
By Tal Haroni
Have you ever felt the amazing boost of imbibing a “now” rhema word from God? And then, soon afterwards, dipped into despair, hopelessness, or depression?
Have you ever felt how the promise that just yesterday gave you faith and peace suddenly seems light years away from you?
Last week I had such an experience. Things I believed in and held on to, all at once seemed far away. I felt like God didn’t love me and didn’t care. Then, in my daily reading, I came across a jolting juxtaposition in Isaiah.
Isaiah 35 holds a wonderful promise for the restoration of Israel – ten amazing verses of hope, encouragement, healing, and the desert blossoming.
“And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness… and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.” (Isaiah 35:9-10)
However, immediately after this chapter, in the very next verse, Isaiah’s friend King Hezekiah faces a phenomenal test of faith. The Assyrian conqueror Sennacherib invades Judea and sends his field commander to threaten, accuse, humiliate, and dishearten Hezekiah and all the residents of Jerusalem before coming to lay siege to the capital city. The sinister voice reminds them of the failures suffered by other nations and armies when attacked by Sennacherib. It even reminds the Jerusalemites of their past sins! The voice tells them how bad their current situation is and questions God’s ability to rescue them.
This is exactly what the enemy does to us after God gives us a promise. He starts planting thoughts of despair in our hearts, reminding us of all our mistakes and past disappointments. And, of course, he does not spare us the present situation, and lays doubt on God’s ability to act in our lives.
In response to the threat of doom, Hezekiah and his men put on sackcloth asking Isaiah to appeal to God on their behalf. God encourages them through Isaiah. But then it happens again. This time the Assyrian field commander brings written messages to intimidate Hezekiah. He even calls Hezekiah “deceived” because he believes in God (37:10). Now, when Hezekiah hears the words of this war edict, he goes up the hill to the Temple and spreads out the written accusations before the God of Israel. He reminds himself who God is, and he reminds God who God is.
“Lord Almighty, 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. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.” (Isaiah 37:16-17)
Like Hezekiah, we would do well to ask “prophetic” believers to pray with us when opposition, thoughts and circumstances laugh in our face. However, God also calls us to come before Him personally, honestly, desperately, and to hang on to the identity of who He really is. When we stand on God’s promises and identity, we will see miracles and wonders. At the end of chapter 37, we see God’s promise fulfilled as Sennacherib experiences an epic fail.
The moral of the story:
Don’t let those accusing voices keep you from hearing God’s voice and laying hold of God and His word!