In response to trouble, King Hezekiah turns to God for help.
Isaiah Chapter 37
Don’t Take It Personally
Most people, if they see an army coming after them, would take it personally. But not King Hezekiah. He was able to recognize that Rapshakeh (the Assyrian prince) was attacking God and not Jerusalem.
When someone speaks hatefully to you, try not to take it personally. More times than not, they are angry at what you represent instead of being angry at you. Jesus told His disciples to not be surprised when the world hates them because the world first hated Him (Jn 15:18). Called by God, we are a separate, holy people. We, through the presence of the Holy Ghost, are God’s hands and feet on earth. Those who hate God will therefore hate us because we are living testimonies that God is real.
Don’t be discouraged when you are mistreated and hated for the gospel’s sake. This just means that you are following God! After all, if you were living in sin and agreeing with satan, you would be confirming that the world’s way of life is the right way to go. The presence of the church is a painful reminder that there is sin and that people are living in it. No one likes to be reminded that they will face hell for their choices.
Instead of taking it personally, acknowledge that a person’s anger is directed at God. Then, you will find it easy to pray for that person. Compassion will flow from your heart for people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. No longer feeling offended by someone’s hatred, you can now respond in love, with grace, and be a greater light to that person. You can allow God to deal with their heart and address their sin. And to your surprise, you just may see God move in a mighty way to drastically change the situation.
Lessons from the text
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-5 After hearing the lies and blasphemies, King Hezekiah immediately asks God for help. He recognized that his really enemy was not the Assyrian army but the rebuke and blasphemy against God. God alone can deliver one from the hands of evil. As Hezekiah said, the people do not have the strength to defeat the enemy. For the believer, that enemy is satan.
6-7 As the enemy wants to make one afraid, God explicitly says not to fear. He will take care of the enemy. When one correctly identifies a spiritual problem and seeks spiritual help from God, He will rise up to defend His glory.
8-13 As God promised, the Assyrian hears of another war and leaves to address that problem. Even as God’s words are being performed, the enemy is trying to convince people that the deliverance is not of God. Satan loves to convince people that the work of God can be attributed to another cause and therefore really is not God’s work at all. Again, the Assyrian uses the lie that God is no better than any other false god who cannot deliver its believers.
14-20 Hezekiah knew that he had to take his problem to God. So, he literally laid down the letter in the Holy Temple. He did not have to read it because God already knew that was written therein. God knows one’s needs before one prays (Mt 6:8). Like Hezekiah, one should spread out one’s problems before God, acknowledging the lie of the enemy and appealing to God for Him to be glorified. One’s ultimate goal should be the same as God’s: that God will be glorified and that all will recognize that He is the one true God.
21 Isaiah was not around to hear the king’s prayer. God, being omni-present, can be answering one’s prayer through somebody who is afar off. One never knows how God will respond, but one an be assured that God hears the prayers o f the saints and will answer them.
22 In response to the Assyrians’ disrespect to God and His people, He will return the dishonor on their own heads. As they laughed at the God of Israel, so will the Jews laugh at them. One does not mock God’s children without recourse. Jesus Himself said that it is better for one to be thrown into the sea bound by a rock than to offend God’s children (Lk 17:1-2). Noteworthy is that from God’s perspective, His people are pure and innocent (a virgin).
23-35 In direct response to the prince of Assyria’s blasphemy, God will rise up and demonstrate that He is a living God. No man has any power or authority of his own; all is granted to man from God (Jn 19:11). Whatever accomplishment one achieves in this life sill hinges upon God’s sovereign power allowing it to happen. To prove to the Assyrians that He is real, God is going to do exactly what they said He could not do—deliver Jerusalem.
36-37 According to God’s decree, the Assyrians never fought against Jerusalem. What a shock it must have been for the Assyrian prince to wake up and find his army destroyed by the hand of the same God he had just accused of being unable to help the Jews. Whether in this life or the one to come, God has a rude awakening all those who mock Him.
38 In perfect irony, God turned Sennacherib’s accusation against him. He thought that the God of Israel could not defend His people, but it was the Assyrian god who could not defend its king—his own sons killed him while he was worshipping his god in his god’s temple. There is no safety in false gods because they do not really exist. Only the Lord is a living God, and He will turn the devices of the wicked back on themselves.
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