Isaiah 36:4-5, 18 (ESV)
And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?
Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
We see the essence of spiritual warfare in these verses. Assyria sent a messenger to Israel with a forceful presence. The messenger sought to undermine Israel’s faith by challenging the object of their faith and belittling their God. “Look how powerful we are,” he said. “No one has ever been able to stand against us. No other god had been able to withstand our power. Your God will be no more successful. We are the champions! Don’t resist, give in. The outcome is obvious.”
These are the words the Enemy whispers in our ears, “You’ve never been able to withstand before. What makes you think you can withstand now? Just give in.” He suggests that God is distant while he is present and powerful. He reminds us of our failures. He tries to impress us with his power. But for all Assyria’s bluster, Jerusalem never fell to Assyria. Their God was indeed present and powerful. They didn’t believe the lie.
The Enemy’s primary weapon is not power, but deceit. Jesus said that “when he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44). Satan believed his own lies about his own greatness. That is what led to his fall. He lied to Eve in the Garden. He lied to Job through Job’s friends. He lied to Jesus in the wilderness temptation. He lies to us every day. He tries to convince us that the world offers life, when in fact it offers only death. He tries to convince us that temptation is too difficult to overcome. He tries to convince us that God is not present and active. He tries to convince us that our past sins are not really forgiven and removed. He tries to convince us that God is never quite pleased with us. “He is a liar and the father of lies.”
Eve tried to reason with the Enemy and she gave in. Israel’s response to Assyria’s challenge is better. “But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, ‘Do not answer him’” (Isaiah 36:21). Jesus quoted scripture and refused to listen to his lies. The lies of the Enemy cannot be bargained with. Lies are refuted by truth. No matter how much bluster he demonstrates, our security in in the blood of our Savior. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Mt 28:18). We can trust him. The Enemy’s lies are just that. They are lies. Don’t listen to the lies. Embrace the truth. Rest in the truth. Trust the one who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). He wasn’t just talking, he was speaking truth. Don’t listen to the liar. Trust the truth teller.