One Of The Most Amazing Victories In History
“Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defended cities of Judah, and took them” (Isaiah 36:1).
Assyria now comes against Judah after defeating other countries and defeating the northern kingdom of Israel. Their leader, Sennacherib sent Rabshakeh, the leader of this Assyrian assault that would come against Jerusalem, along with a “great army.” And Rabshakeh stood outside the city to demand that Jerusalem surrender.
Rabshakeh may have been chosen as a spokesman because he was fluent in Hebrew. He now addresses king Hezekiah through representatives of the king. And he tells them to ask the king why he has any confidence in any defense against the “great king”; the king of Assyria. Rabshakeh asks them who they are trusting to help them. He seems to have some knowledge of a proposed agreement between Eygpt and Judah, and Eygpt’s lack of strength to help Judah; referring to Eygpt as a “broken reed.”
He then questions whether the God of Judah would help Jerusalem considering Hezekiah had removed “the high places” of worship. He did not realize that these high places were idolatrous altars that Hezekiah had removed. Rabshakeh thought that the God of Judah would be offended with their removal.
Rabshakeh then tells them that the Lord told him to destroy Judah. He was referring to a prophecy made sometime earlier by Isaiah. He misunderstood the prophecy. The Lord did ordain Assyria to conquer certain countries including the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and to chasten Judah, but he never called them to destroy Judah. In their pride, they were going beyond what the Lord had said. They, of course, did not believe in the Lord but used this false interpretation of the prophecy to try and weaken the people of Jerusalem.
The representatives sent by Hezekiah asked that all communication be done in the Syrian language so that those on the wall in Jerusalem would not hear and have what was said weaken their resolve. This was exactly why Rabshakeh spoke in Hebrew. He ignored the request and continued to converse in Hebrew.
Rabshakeh then shows great contempt for all those listening on the wall and in Jerusalem. He points to what would happen to them when they were cut off from supplies. He then cries out with a loud voice so that all could hear and tells them not to trust Hezekiah to deliver them, and to not let Hezekiah encourage them to trust that the Lord will deliver them. He then tells them that their only hope is to agree with the king of Assyria that life might go on as it had with plenty of food and drink. Of course, that would not be the case when they are taken out of the land.
He then asks if the gods of any nation delivered the people from the king of Assyria? Even the Northern Kingdom (of Israel) was not delivered out of his hand. He then includes the Lord among the other gods and questions the deliverance of Judah by Him. This was an insult to the Lord which will result in the great defeat and humiliation of Sennacherib and the great Assyrian army. The representatives of the king answered him not a word for the king had commanded that they not respond to the threats.
“And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord” (Isaiah 37:1).
Hezekiah, though seeking ways other than faith previously, now takes the situation to the Lord realizing that certain destruction lies ahead unless the Lord intervenes. He now sends representatives to Isaiah the Prophet, something he should have done at the start of this terrible trouble. Isaiah tells them to tell Hezekiah the following:
“Thus saith the Lord, be not afraid of the words you have heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land” (Isaiah 37:6,7).
Hezekiah had sought the Lord and victory was now assured. More threatening came forth from Assyria by way of a letter insulting the Lord and boasting of their victories. Hezekiah laid the letter before the Lord and petitioned the Lord for help. The Lord responded through Isaiah with the following:
“Therefore, thus says 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. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, says the Lord. I will defend this city to save it for My Own sake, and for My servants David’s sake” (Isaiah 37:33-35).
So, the king of Assyria, in his pride and arrogance comes against the Lord. The Lord had used him in the victories he had attained to this point, by now coming against Jerusalem, he is overstepping what the Lord had ordained and was now lifted up in pride thinking that the victories were due to his prowess. The Lord will turn his spirit of pride into a spirit of fear as the following verse tells us:
“Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty and five thousand: and when they (those in Judea) arose early in the morning, and behold, they were all dead corpses” (Isaiah 37:36).
The Lord sent one angel who killed 185,000 Assyrians. This is one of the greatest miracles recorded. Sennacherib, King of Assyria, returned to Ninevah in defeat where he was killed by two of his sons over contention for the throne. The Lord had used Sennacherib in the victories he wrought. He could have known the Lord, but instead came against God’s people and therefore against God. And by it, he destroyed himself.
So, what’s the lesson for us in all this? We must bring everything to the Lord. We must look to Him in every circumstance in our lives. There is no victory outside of the Lord. We must seek Him in all the decisions before us and ask Him what to do, how to do it, and seek His power to accomplish it. If we don’t, it gives Satan an opening to tempt us to lose faith in the Lord. Satan is after our faith. He does this at times by threatening us and attempting to make us fearful just as the Assyrians attempted to do that to King Hezekiah and all the people of Jerusalem. If He can cause us to lose faith in the Lord; He has won. We must realize our victory comes only through our faith in Christ’s great victory at Calvary. We are not called to fight Satan; we are called to fight “the good fight of faith.” The Lord brought total victory and Satan’s total defeat by His sacrifice on the cross. We are “in Christ” and His victory is ours. Let us not turn back, but boldly walk out of our lives with faith in the One that loved us and brought us life in Himself.
“…In all things we are more than conquerors through Him (Jesus) Who loved us” Romans 8:37).
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Here I Am, Lord – Tom Quinn Ministries – tqministries.com 2022