Have you ever asked God for something and wondered how he’d answer your prayer? That’s probably a pretty silly question! We have all done that, haven’t we? Isn’t it great to know we can have the assurance he will answer, even if it’s not in the way we would like. We read King Hezekiah’s prayer in our last reading. You’ll recall he was fearful of King Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. Today we see God’s response.
What strikes you most about this message from God? I loved God’s attitude. “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!” God was making it clear to Hezekiah that not only was he aware of what lies the Assyrians were telling, but that he wasn’t impressed by their actions at all. We’ve read about how God has used the Assyrians to destroy the land, but the Assyrians have taken their victory a bit far. They are pounding their chest as if it is their might and not God’s.
That’s a slippery slope to be sure. We can find ourselves falling into that same trap at times. You can probably recall a time when you had great success. Was it because of something you did or something God orchestrated? We might find ourselves frustrated when we look around at our rivals or those seemingly far from God and see them having outrageous success. It can sting. Yet, success and fame will fade away. I am much more interested in the treasure that awaits me in eternity with Jesus and my walk with him along the way. That is something that can not be taken from me. It is the reality I live for every day.
God goes on to say to the Assyrians, “But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen.” In case there was any doubt, the Assyrian victories were directed by God. When I read things like this, I can’t help but wonder whether what is happening in the world these days has been planned by God. Planned or not, he is allowing it for a purpose, for a time. How we respond is our choice. Would your choice be pleasing to God?
If you wondered what the hook in the nose was all about, I understand that was a common torture used by the Assyrians on their captives. God said this “because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself.” God wanted to make it clear, as he concluded his message to them, that they would be humiliated. It was just a matter of time to see how God’s justice played out.
The Lord is giving Hezekiah proof that Jerusalem will be safe. “His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls.” Can you imagine the comfort? Don’t you wish you had Isaiah handing you such words of relief? We do have many promises of God to cling to when you think of it. What sorts of things are you struggling with right now? Never underestimate what God can do for those who love him.
Earlier in this chapter, God had said he would send the troops back home and have the King of Assyria killed with a sword. God acted in a mighty way, didn’t he? His angels destroyed 185,000 of the Assyrian army while they slept. And the king’s fate was also sealed. At the hands of his own sons. “One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords.” God was true to word.
What are you working through in your life right now? If you’re like me, you’re ready to watch God act in a mighty way. We know what he is capable of. Now it’s time to wait and be still.
Let’s pray … Lord, today’s reading is such a great reminder of how awesome you are. These words were not only written and recorded in Isaiah, but the same passage, in it’s entirety, is in 2 Kings. That’s powerful! Thank you, God for how you are working in my life, whether I see it or not. Help me to see your plan for me. Direct my steps. Protect my heart and mind. In Jesus’ name. Amen.