22/7/11 Isaiah 36-37, Psalm 76, 1 Peter 1
S: Isaiah 36:18-20 (Sennacherib’s chief of staff says) “Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power? What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?”
Isaiah 37:18-20 (Hezekiah prays) “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”
Isaiah 37:36-38 That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrianst woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there. One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.
O: Israel had already been wiped out by the Assyrians. Now they've invaded Judah, and taken most of Judah -- the major city of Lachich had already fallen and was being used as a base for the Assyrians to attack Jerusalem. Things looked bleak -- it looked like they were doomed.
But then, Sennacherib makes the fatal mistake of comparing Yahweh to all the other gods... and he got squished. (Well, it also helped that Hezekiah was faithful to Yahweh, unlike his dad.)
A: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Honestly, it's easier said than done.
And sometimes it seems like God fails us (e.g. Josiah also trusted the Lord, but he still got killed by Necho the Pharoah of Egypt. (2 Chronicles 34-35) Ok, you might argue that Josiah "did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God" (2 Chronicles 35:22), but didn't Sennacharib also claim that he was speaking for Yahweh? (2 Kings 18:25)
But we have to say with Job, "Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him." (Job 13:15) We have to trust God even when "God doesn't make sense". (See this article by Dr. James Dobson.)
Ultimately, we have to know that Yahweh is not just another god. A lot of people are willing to add a shrine to Jesus to their collection of gods. That's not really following Him.
P: Father, keep me faithful and trusting You, for You are the Almighty Creator of the universe who loves me. In Jesus' name, amen.