Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah. Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.
Isaiah 36 & 37.
These two chapters tell a sad story of pride and the good story of humility before God.
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria arrogantly threatens Hezekiah and blasphemes the name of God in the process. He taunts Hezekiah by bragging about all his victories, and even lies saying “the LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.” (36:10, NIV).
Hezekiah can respond in a couple of different ways. He might panic and accept the bribe of 2000 horses and sell his soul to the devil. Or, he might turn to God. Thankfully, he makes the right choice and lays before the Lord and proclaims “… You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth…” (37:15-18).
God affirms Hezekiah for making the right decision: “I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!” (Isaiah 37:35, NIV).
And, boy, does God bring His holy vengeance against Sennacherib:
v36: an angel of the LORD put to death 185,000 in the Assyrian camp.
v37: Sennacherib withdraws.
v38: While he is worshiping a false god back in his home temple, his two sons murder him.
Wow! What a story! What a mess for Sennacherib. Our faith lesson? Make the right choice. I used to tease my children when I dropped them off at high school with a similar caution: “If you don’t know which way to turn today, make the right choice.” It was a dad-ism with just a bit more direction than Yogi Berra’s “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” But the point is this: Turn to God. Always. He will not only defend you, He will fight for you. He has a plan. In this case it was to defend Jerusalem for His servant David.
In the same way He has a plan and a warning for us. We might be tempted to believe it when someone – like Sennacherib – says “the Lord told me to tell you…” We must back away, take a moment or season to breathe and worship and seek God’s wisdom. Confirm the advice with a check of Scripture. And then, trust God as Hezekiah did. And we can stand on this promise: “The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this!” (37:32, NIV).
Humbly give your choices and challenges to the Lord and see what He will do!
One additional thought. I love the final words of the angel when he tells Mary that she will give birth to a son, the Messiah. The future mother of Jesus asks the messenger how this might happen. His reply is one we can own in whatever situation we might question: “Nothing is impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37, CEV).
The zeal of the Almighty will accomplish this for you and for me!
If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.