The Christian’s Great Challenge: ‘And Yet’

Posted on January 9, 2019

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By David Ettinger

A Great King
I love reading about King Hezekiah. Behind King David, Hezekiah (in a toss-up with the great King Josiah) is Israel’s second-greatest king. As proof of this, the biblical account of Hezekiah is found in 2 Kings Chapters 18-20; 2 Chronicles Chapters 29-32; and Isaiah Chapters 36-39. That’s an awful lot of coverage given to an Israeli king not named David!

And yet, despite Hezekiah’s greatness, there is an “and yet” attached to his life, which is also attached to the life of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s take a look.

A Job Well Done!
Hezekiah was the son of one of Israel’s vilest kings, Ahaz (not Ahab). Ahaz’s 16-year reign was filled with every kind of abomination (you can read his nefarious account in 2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28).

By the time Hezekiah succeeded him, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was a spiritual, religious, and political cesspool. Hezekiah had quite the job ahead of him to set things right again, but he succeeded. Hezekiah abolished idol worship from the land and directed the people’s hearts back to God. His accomplishments are summarized this way:

This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered (2 Chronicles 31:20-21).

And Yet
And this is where the “and yet” comes in. Hezekiah devoted himself to the Lord and did everything the Lord expected of him. And yes, he was rewarded as we read that “he prospered.”

However, the very next verse, which begins Chapter 32, reads this way: “After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself.”

As you may have noticed, the words “and yet” do not appear in the text; I inserted them as an aside in my Bible. In other words, this verse could just well have read: “AND YET, after all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah.”

This insurgence by the militarily-superior Assyrians was a severe threat to the existence of Judah, and Hezekiah – knowing he could not defeat them in battle – was greatly afraid. Also, we can well imagine once or twice during the great ordeal Hezekiah saying something such as: Lord, I have done everything you have asked me to do. Is this what I get in return?

The Christian Challenge
Can you identify with Hezekiah? Of course you can. Every Christian can.

It is one thing to be on the receiving end of God’s discipline when we blatantly sin, but what about when we are excelling spiritually? What of those times when we are reading our Bibles daily, praying consistently, fighting the good fight against sin, and doing everything we can to bring glory and honor to the Lord? And then something bad happens – our “and yet” moment?

We have been walking with the Lord and have been experiencing blessed fellowship with Him, and yet … our car engine dies; our pipes rupture and our homes flood; we are laid off from our jobs. Or worse: we suddenly feel ill and are given a frightful diagnosis; a family tragedy occurs; life as we know it drastically changes. And the ultimate: We have walked faithfully with the Lord, and then we are martyred for our faith.

We want to say, Lord, we have done everything you have asked of us, AND YET you have not shielded us from harm. Why, Lord? It is the greatest challenge the believer will ever face.

The Answer
There are definitely answers for the “and yet moment” questions we ask, but during this lifetime, we may never learn them. What we can do is trust God’s assurances.

One of them is found in Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Though part of this promise has to do with our earthly life, I believe the major part is in eternity.

Another assurance is found in Hebrews 10:36: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Again, I believe what God has promised us ultimately is eternal life. That is where all questions will be answered.

It is in eternity where life will be perfect, heartache and mourning will disappear, and all pain and suffering will become but a distant memory. Until then, we persevere, do the Lord’s will, and bring Him glory. Then one day, we will be with Him in eternity, where we will never again have to face another Hezekiah-like “and yet” moment. We only need persevere a little longer.

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