This is a big showdown and the big players are in the arena: Hezekiah (the most faithful king of Judah standing up to Sennacherib), Isaiah (the great prophet with an amazing word from God), Sennacherib’s envoy (with an army that would have made Sauron’s boys shake in their orc boots) …and the Living God (who, in case you weren’t concentrating, was just insulted!).
Having not had the pleasure of giving birth myself I cannot imagine Hezekiah’s absolute exhaustion at this moment (his description not mine) but apparently those who have given birth after a very long labor would identify, v. 3. And so, Hezekiah lays out his humble prayer, “Living God, the Assyrians have gone too far this time…they just called you weak”.
And in Hezekiah’s darkest moment Isaiah sends a word of hope. He says of Sennacherib,
“Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!”
Sennacherib had bulldozed his way down through Israel all the way to the gates of Jerusalem but here the Living God rises to defend His name. God diverts Sennacherib and slaughters his army. As Harry alluded to yesterday, the Bible describes an army of angels slaughtering the 185,000. Sennacherib’s prism (an archaeological discovery) tells of his victories but is remarkably silent about not capturing Jerusalem. Greek historian Herodtus in 450BC tells the story of Senacherib’s defeat being due to a plague of field mice which infested his army and decimated the bow strings of his archers. However God did it, the great insulter retreated and failed in his arrogant quest to take the holy city.
Two days ago giant killer Nick Kyrgios stunned the world by defeating Rafael Nadal. While the tennis world may have been stunned, can you imagine how the ancient world reacted to the news that the Living God had sent Sennacherib home in 4 sets?!!! It is believed that Psalm 46 was written in celebration of Hezekiah’s victory.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” It just so happens that this psalm is the text for this Sunday’s sermon.
Meanwhile Peter, who knows he will go to be with the Lord soon, assures believers everywhere of the veracity of his testimony to Jesus Christ.
19 “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”
Isaiah wasn’t just giving Hezekiah a spoonful of optimism, he was giving the divine word of deliverance. Today Satan blasphemes the name of the Living God by destroying God’s image bearers, people. He is insulting the living God in our neighbourhoods. God still listens to the prayers of His people, especially when they pray that His honour might be upheld and Satan defeated in the lives of the lost.
…and the Spirit has given us the final word of divine deliverance—Jesus.