Isaiah 37

Isaiah 37 Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson

                Finally a chapter that is easy to understand!  The Assyrian royal counselor for military affairs named Rabshakeh is telling the people of Judah that they should just give up because no one can save them from the Assyrians.  Most of the previous chapter is his speech which from any Assyrian’s viewpoint must have been convincing.  Yet, Rabshakeh had no idea who he was talking about.  People my age might remember a funny song in 1972 by Jim Croce called, ‘You don’t mess around with Jim.’   The point of the song is don’t mess with people or things far bigger than you.  Yeah, `bout that.

             Not only did the Assyrians need to learn that (coming quick) but so did Israel and Judah.  For many of us, when we can’t do anything else, we pray.  A lot of bit mixed up, that we are like Winston Churchill said about the U.S. “They will eventually do the right thing after they have tried everything else.”  (not the exact words but you get the idea.)  So here is a positive response from Hezekiah upon hearing from his senior officials what the Assyrians were mockingly saying.

            He sends his officials to Isaiah who tells them not to worry.  Isaiah tell Hezekiah that Rabshakeh will leave soon.  Of course Rabshakeh does leaver but not before he reminds Hezekiah through a letter that the God of Israel is a god like the others Assyria has defeated.  Oh, really?

            I just love what Hezekiah does.  H could have concluded that Yahweh was just like all the other gods.  He could have made preparations for surrender.  He could have asked Isaiah to pray.  Instead, Hezekiah takes the letter and lays it out before God in the house of the Lord and prays.  It would as if one of us, laid a mocking and anti-God letter in church on a day when no one was there and asked God to act.  The beginning and end of his prayer is outstanding.  This is a model prayer.  When you end your prayer by saying,  “. .  . that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.”  You are praying according to God’s will.

 In response, God sends Isaiah to Hezekiah with the words of 37:22-35.  This is so refreshing, so positive.  Finally, a good example that God is pleased with.  God coming roaring back with His support of His people.  God’s word to Assyria is serious and bad news for Assyria but good news for Judah.  In mocking these believers, God says you are mocking Me v. 23.  Don’t you understand that Assyria is merely doing God’s will v. 26-27

In fact, as part of God’s defense of the city, God will strike dead 185,000 Assyrian soldiers and the King returned home to Nineveh.  As he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch, his god, his two sons murdered their own father.  And then Sennacherib’s son Esarhaddon became King.

Maybe, just maybe, Rabshakeh didn’t know what he so confidently asserted.  And maybe unbelievers do not know what they are talking about when they assert spiritual “truth.”  Unbelievers think people do not need God to live a moral life.  They express that with the confidence of people who just know so we should just listen to them.  Not so fast. 

We follow the only one who was both 100% God and 100% man;  truly God and truly man.  He is the only one who has ever or will ever lead a sinless life.  He is the only one who has been physically raised from the dead.  He has the last word.

Father, I admit I am listening to too many voices while I should be listening more for Your voice.  I still need to learn and listen to those I disagree with but I need to listen carefully to Your Word and obey You.  My perspective is skewed by my desires and also by the temptations of this world.  How quickly You can change things because everything and everyone is doing Your will.  Grant me the discernment to uphold righteousness and shun sin while at the same time recognizing Your providence over all things. 

Remind me to seek You first when I am troubled. Help me to trust You in the deepest part of me no matter what I am facing.  Even with the loss of a spouse, cancer, mocking of people at work or school, help me to see you as a great treasure.  Lift me head upward in worship in the name of the one who washes our feet and dies in our place. Amen.