I must confess. In spending the last month reading and studying this book of the prophet Isaiah, my eyes have been opened wider to the “clear and present danger” that is threating the world we live in from countries, states, cities, and towns to individual families’ ways of life. What we think now and learned previously from the Word of God and His Holy Spirit living in us as “right and good” in the eyes of God is being threatened by worldview thinking that is the direct opposite of God’s thinking. In our own nation, leaders who betray their wives openly are reelected, just one of many examples!
Our real and present enemy of God, Satan the fallen angel, has and is spreading his destructive thinking among all he can fool, all who have stopped attending church for strength, stopped reading the Word of God to learn of God, and have turned away from God with apathy from laziness. We are easy prey. The enemy’s thinking begins and ends with self—that life is all about me, all about what I need, want, expect and demand from others because I am the most important one to think about so I deserve all I can get from this world.
This opposite of God thinking is a ramped-up cancer that is spreading like an uncontrolled wildfire of thought and behavior that will eventually end in death. The enemy will cheer and think he has won—for now. This cancer is getting closer and closer to all of us. Not only is the cancer of sin affecting the world, it is now seeping into and spreading among our immediate family members who once knew and believed in God but now think they can run their lives better without Him. What do we do?
Dear friends, you will see that the closer to home the virus gets the more concerned we become. Worldview thinking has now escalated to the point that we who still believe that there is only one God, that Jesus lived, died and rose again to pay the punishment we deserve for our sins, repent and now live for God as closely as possible are known and mocked as the “foolish” who are berated as unintelligent people.
Fewer and fewer churches are sounding the warning of this cancer and are merely telling attenders how to be “nice” without telling us how to hear God, repent of our sins and follow in His ways—which include being kind but with power to avoid the cancerous living that is not of God! There is a difference. We seem to be becoming the “remnant” that is tested and tried by those who tell us we must not only love the sinner, which we do, but love and accept their turning against God into all forms of perverted sins of destructive behaviors.
God help us. I have experienced how sin tears families apart. My heart is broken.
Isaiah has the answer from God to Hezekiah…
Isaiah 37, The Message
The Only God There Is
1-2 When King Hezekiah heard the report, he also tore his clothes and dressed in rough, penitential burlap gunnysacks, and went into the sanctuary of God. He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, all of them also dressed in penitential burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
3-4 They said to him, “Hezekiah says, ‘This is a black day. We’re in crisis. We’re like pregnant women without even the strength to have a baby! Do you think your God heard what the Rabshekah said, sent by his master the king of Assyria to mock the living God? And do you think your God will do anything about it? Pray for us, Isaiah. Pray for those of us left here holding the fort!’”
5-7 Then King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah. Isaiah said, “Tell your master this, ‘God’s Message: Don’t be upset by what you’ve heard, all those words the servants of the Assyrian king have used to mock me. I personally will take care of him. I’ll arrange it so that he’ll get a rumor of bad news back home and rush home to take care of it. And he’ll die there. Killed—a violent death.’”
* * *
8 The Rabshekah left and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah. (He had gotten word that the king had left Lachish.)
9-13 Just then the Assyrian king received an intelligence report on King Tirhakah of Ethiopia: “He is on his way to make war on you.”
On hearing that, he sent messengers to Hezekiah with instructions to deliver this message: “Don’t let your God, on whom you so naively lean, deceive you, promising that Jerusalem won’t fall to the king of Assyria. Use your head! Look around at what the kings of Assyria have done all over the world—one country after another devastated! And do you think you’re going to get off? Have any of the gods of any of these countries ever stepped in and saved them, even one of these nations my predecessors destroyed—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who lived in Telassar? Look around. Do you see anything left of the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, the king of Ivvah?”
14 Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messengers and read it. Then he went into the sanctuary of God and spread the letter out before God.
15-20 Then Hezekiah prayed to God: “God-of-the-Angel-Armies, enthroned over the cherubim-angels, you are God, the only God there is, God of all kingdoms on earth. You made heaven and earth. Listen, O God, and hear. Look, O God, and see. Mark all these words of Sennacherib that he sent to mock the living God. It’s quite true, O God, that the kings of Assyria have devastated all the nations and their lands. They’ve thrown their gods into the trash and burned them—no great achievement since they were no-gods anyway, gods made in workshops, carved from wood and chiseled from rock. An end to the no-gods! But now step in, O God, our God. Save us from him. Let all the kingdoms of earth know that you and you alone are God.”
* * *
21-25 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this word to Hezekiah: “God’s Message, the God of Israel: Because you brought King Sennacherib of Assyria to me in prayer, here is my answer, God’s answer:
“‘She has no use for you, Sennacherib, nothing but contempt,
this virgin daughter Zion.
She spits at you and turns on her heel,
this daughter Jerusalem.
“‘Who do you think you’ve been mocking and reviling
all these years?
Who do you think you’ve been jeering
and treating with such utter contempt
All these years?
The Holy of Israel!
You’ve used your servants to mock the Master.
You’ve bragged, “With my fleet of chariots
I’ve gone to the highest mountain ranges,
penetrated the far reaches of Lebanon,
Chopped down its giant cedars,
its finest cypresses.
I conquered its highest peak,
explored its deepest forest.
I dug wells
and drank my fill.
I emptied the famous rivers of Egypt
with one kick of my foot.”
26-27 “‘Haven’t you gotten the news
that I’ve been behind this all along?
This is a longstanding plan of mine
and I’m just now making it happen,
using you to devastate strong cities,
turning them into piles of rubble
and leaving their citizens helpless,
bewildered, and confused,
drooping like unwatered plants,
stunted like withered seedlings.
28-29 “‘I know all about your pretentious poses,
your self-important comings and goings,
and, yes, the tantrums you throw against me.
Because of all your wild raging against me,
your unbridled arrogance that I keep hearing of,
I’ll put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth.
I’ll show you who’s boss. I’ll turn you around
and take you back to where you came from.
30-32 “‘And this, Hezekiah, will be your confirming sign: This year’s crops will be slim pickings, and next year it won’t be much better. But in three years, farming will be back to normal, with regular sowing and reaping, planting and harvesting. What’s left of the people of Judah will put down roots and make a new start. The people left in Jerusalem will get moving again. Mount Zion survivors will take hold again. The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.’
* * *
33-35 “Finally, this is God’s verdict on the king of Assyria:
“‘Don’t worry, he won’t enter this city,
won’t let loose a single arrow,
Won’t brandish so much as one shield,
let alone build a siege ramp against it.
He’ll go back the same way he came.
He won’t set a foot in this city.
I’ve got my hand on this city
to save it,
Save it for my very own sake,
but also for the sake of my David dynasty.’”
36-38 Then the Angel of God arrived and struck the Assyrian camp—185,000 Assyrians died. By the time the sun came up, they were all dead—an army of corpses! Sennacherib, king of Assyria, got out of there fast, back home to Nineveh. As he was worshiping in the sanctuary of his god Nisroch, he was murdered by his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer. They escaped to the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon became the next king.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
God is and always will be in control. Trust God. Trust in His Plan.
PRAY. Come to God in humbled prayer asking God what HE wants and what we should be then do to glorify Him. God loves to help those who call on Him and ask for wisdom and help. He will give us all we need. Hezekiah’s prayer is saturated with biblical theology and is similar to the prayer of the church in Acts 4:24–31. He affirmed his faith in the one true and living God, and he worshiped Him. Jehovah is the “LORD of hosts” (Ps. 46:7, 11). He is the Lord who “made the heavens” (Ps. 96:5) and knows what is going on in His creation. His eyes can see our plight, and His ears can hear our plea (see Ps. 115). King Hezekiah did not want deliverance merely for his people’s sake but that God alone might be glorified.
GOD RESPONDS TO PRAYER. God’s response to this prayer was to send King Hezekiah another threefold message of assurance: (1) Jerusalem would not be taken, (2) the Assyrians would depart, and (3) the Jews would not starve.
Read the Book—God wins. We win who stay with God. Is it that simple? Mm, yes.
After Sennacherib left Judah a defeated man, he returned to his capital city of Nineveh. Twenty years later, as a result of a power struggle among his sons, Sennacherib was assassinated by two of his sons in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, and it happened in the temple of his god! The Assyrian chief of staff had ridiculed the gods of the nations, but Sennacherib’s own god could not protect him.
You encourage us by how you have worked in the past so we may see you at work today! To you be the glory! May we never forget that we pray. You work. You are always at work on our behalf because of your great love for us. Help us to hear your voice above all other voices and follow you, on your path, in your ways. You are the One and Only God. I believe. I will trust in what you say. Thank you for helping me navigate this world of lies so I can see and trust in You alone.
In Jesus Name, Amen