Saturday, November 2, 2019

Isaiah 37

Isaiah 37:6-7 (ESV)
Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”

The Enemy’s primary weapon is not power, but deceit. The Enemy’s primary ploy is fear. Isaiah sent word to King Hezekiah, “Do not be afraid” (Is 37:6). For all the Assyrian king’s bluster and braggadocio, he ended up dead at the hands of his own sons while worshiping his god. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, put on a good show of force. He even presented evidence to substantiate his power. “Look at the other nations that have fallen to me,” he said. “Their gods could not save them. How do you expect your god to save you?” But he underestimated God.

Hezekiah’s response to Sennacherib’s threat was three-fold. First, he ran to God in honest prayer. “And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD” (Is 37:15). His prayer was raw and honest. He said, “Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands” (Is 37:18). Second, he remembered the power of God. “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth” (Is 37:16). He remembered that the gods of the fallen nations were only “the work of men’s hands, wood and stone” (Is 37:19). Third, he prayed not for his own glory or comfort, but for the glory of God. “So now, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the LORD” (Is 37:20).

Hezekiah had never read Ephesians 6 where Paul talks about the armor of God, but he instinctively knew how to respond. A proper response to the Enemy’s bluster is not to try and be strong. Nor is it to respond to intimidation with intimidation. The proper response is prayer and faith. The king of Assyria look intimidating and frightening until Hezekiah remembered who God is. So often our fears loom so large, our Enemy sounds so powerful, our challenging circumstances feel so insurmountable that they fill our vision and cause us fear. Deceit, intimidation, and fear are the tools of the Enemy. Prayer and faith are among the armor of the believer. “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Eph 6:16, 18).

Don’t buy into the lies of the Enemy. He may touch our body, like Job’s. He may breathe fire, like the creatures in Revelation 9:17. He may threaten and intimidate like Sennacherib. But, he cannot touch our spirit, for as believers in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of the living God dwells in us. He is the “LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim,” the God who “alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; …made heaven and earth” (Is 37:16). He will not share his glory, and he will not let his children go. We have nothing to fear.

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