The Only Way Out Is Up

How do you deal with the crises in your life? When some serious situations suddenly arise in your life, how do you respond to them? Do you panic and become paralyzed with fear? Who do you turn to for help? The question is: when there is no way out, which way do you take? Such a situation was faced by King Hezekiah and his people in the 8th century BC (Isa. 36, 37). It was a national crisis. The enemies had conquered all the surrounding cities. Jerusalem was the only city left. Help from the once mighty Egyptians had evaporated. They too had been defeated or were about to meet the same fate as Jerusalem. King Hezekiah and Jerusalem were surrounded and isolated without any help from outside. He had to choose between surrender and total destruction. In such a quandary, King Hezekiah chose the wisest option – go up to the temple of the Lord (Isa. 37: 1; 14). In so doing, he demonstrated the truth: “The only way out is up!” Listen to the intensity of his request, “Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; Open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God” (Isa. 37: 17).

How many of us when confronted with dreadful personal health, financial, family or business crises, would cry out with such intensity as King Hezekiah did?

His crisis was made worst by the constant taunts that came from the lips of the Assyrian field commander. “Where are your gods? Where are the kings of the other nations? Where is your trusted ally, the Egyptian Pharaoh?” (Isa. 36: 4-6; 19, 20; Isa. 37: 12, 13).

I am convinced that Satan will always challenge the integrity of our God and the veracity of His Word. He knows how to hit us ‘below the belt’ so to speak. He knows how to exploit our weakest and most vulnerable spots. You may even hear his fiendish whisper, “Where is thy God?” (Psa. 42:10). If he could succeed in shaking you up and sieve you as wheat, then he could destroy the foundation of your Christian life.

In times of crisis, many of us will wrestle with the core issues of God’s power and love. We will be tossed about between fear and faith. However, we must not forget that our Lord Himself faced the same challenges as He hung on the cross. He too was mocked and ridiculed for His faith in God. “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God” (Matt 27:43). How did Jesus react? He responded by extending God’s grace and mercy to them. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23: 34). Though His situation looked bleak and hopeless yet in the end God vindicated Him by raising Him from the dead (Phil. 2: 9).

Is faith in God and His Word worth it? Listen to God’s assurance to Hezekiah, “Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake (Isa 37:33-35). God personally assured Hezekiah that He will defend the city for His own glory and for His covenant promise to David. In other words, God will vindicate Hezekiah for his trust in Him and in His Word. And if we respond the same way to God in our crisis as Hezekiah and our Lord did, we will also be vindicated by Him. Therefore, when we see no way out of our crisis, remember to keep looking up, for that is the surest way to victory.

Rev. Mark Tay