Text: Isaiah 33-36; Proverbs 9
In Isaiah 36 the text turns to prose – a historical account of the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians. This dangerous empire has destroyed the Northern Kingdom and invaded the South, and they are knocking on the door of Jerusalem. It is certainly a “woe is me” moment. In Isaiah 36 we read of the blustery official from Assyria coming before the Jews and demanding their surrender. In 36:10 he says,
Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land and destroy it.
Now, those would be pretty scary words to hear. But, it is not yet time for God’s judgment to come upon Judah. That will happen 115 years later at the hands of Babylon (and will be the subject of much of Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s prophecy). Now, the Word tells us that both the Assyrian invasion and the Babylonian assault to come are actually the result of the Lord’s judgment upon His chosen people, and the invading kings are being used by the Lord. So – the Assyrian’s words are believable, but false. He is bluffing.
If we were there, how would we know? I suppose the simplest answer is to consider the source. The Hebrews have God’s written Word, and they also have their own prophets – like Isaiah. We do not have prophets around today, but we have the Bible and we have access to the Lord through prayer. If someone makes a claim in the name of the Lord, if it is the real deal it will never contradict the Word. Beyond that test, the proof is in the pudding (the Assyrians will fail). While we wait for the truth to be revealed, we are held strong by our trust in the Lord, our prayers, and the knowledge that He desires our repentance and surrender to His will. So, fear not… and don’t fall for the bluff.
in Him, Mike