Thursday, March 5, 2009

So Long Sennacharib - Isaiah 37 part 2

"...Thus says the LORD the God of Israel,
'Because you have prayed to Me about
Sennacharib king of Assyria, this is the word
that the LORD has spoken against him....'"
(vs 21)

"Those who receive messages of terror from men with patience, and send messages of faith to God by prayer, may expect messages from God for their comfort" (Matthew Henry). What a fitting word to begin this section of Isaiah 37.

Hezekiah's fear drove him to prayer and his God both heard and answered. That answer is recorded in verses 21-35. Several particulars struck me this morning.
  • Sennacharib's rantings towards Judah were a blasphemous reproach to the living God. "Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice, and haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel." When men rail against the people of God they are reproaching the God of His people. Beloved, we are the apple of His eye and He takes the attacks against His bride personally!

  • Sennacharib boasted in his achievements and credited them to his own power and wisdom. "And you have said, 'With my many chariots I came up tBulleted Listo the heights of the moutains...I cut down its tall cedars...I will go to its highest peak...I dug wells and drank waters...I dried up all the rivers of Egypt." I, I, I - me, me, me. How silly are we to think that we've done anything in and of ourselves. "The most active of men are no more than God makes them." No one can accomplish anything apart from Him.

  • God is the sovereign King of all kings. Let those who boast, boast in Him. "Have you not heard? Long ago I did it, from ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps." Thomas Watson rightly said, "Whoever brings an affliction, it is God who sends it." (Amos 3:6.) Sennacharib had been sovereignly used as the rod of God to discipline his wayward people and to judge the pagan nations. Let us remember in the times we are currently facing that God has His divine purposes for the good of His chosen people. He may be pleased to raise up a modern Sennacharib or to take us through a Babylonian captivity in order to drive us back to our first love. History is His story and He remains in complete control of all the affairs of men and nations.

  • God is never tricked or deceived by us. "But I know your sitting down, and your going out and your coming in, and your raging against Me." Sennacharib may have denied the existence of Israel's God and may have spent much time and many resources in his attempts to dethrone the King of kings, but none of this caught God by surprise. No, in every striking at the character of the Divine that Sennacharib did God Himself was holding him up and giving him the very breath that allowed him to breathe out those blasphemous words. Not only that, but God was working His own good purpose through Sennacharib's wicked actions. What an amazingly wise, powerful and soveriegn God we have to make straight these incredibly crooked paths.

  • God doesn't let sinners off the hook but will deal justly with the unrepentant when the time is right. "Therefore I will put My hook in your nose, and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way you came." Here is the day of recompense for the cause of Zion. Sennacharib is dealt with. Justice is served. Vengeance belongs to God.

God was providentially working in the actions of Sennacharib. He was using it for the good of His people and for the judgment of the wicked. "God had signed Sennacharib's commission against Judah (10:6) and now He supersedes it" (Henry). "Then the angel of the LORD went out, and stuck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold all of these were dead" (vs 36). One angel, in one night, with one blow took out the entire army of Assyria. How powerful is our God if this is the power His angels have?

"So Sennacharib, king of Assyria, departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh. And it came about as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adramelech and Sharezer his sons killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place" (vs 37-38)

"The great king of Assyira looks very little when he is forced to return with terror and fear, lest the angel that had destroyed his army should destroy him: yet he is made to look less when his own sons, who should have guarded him, sacrificed him to his idol, whose protection he sought." (Matthew Henry)

God has done as He said He would do - and He still does!

Trusting in the promises of the King of kings,


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