The Enemy's Message and God's Message
Isaiah 36 & 37
Isaiah 36:1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2 Then the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. (NIV)
The Assyrian Empire has been spreading across the known world. They have been conquering country after country. Their custom was to take over an area and then move people out of that area and move others in. They had done this with the northern kingdom of Israel. Now all of Judah has fallen except the fortress city of Jerusalem. Their army is surrounding the city and King Sennacherib sends his field commander to give a message to the people locked up in the city of Jerusalem.
His message is, in a nutshell, that Jerusalem has no hope of winning. Your God is not going to save you, but if you will surrender without a fight you will be given new lands to live in elsewhere in Assyria’s empire.
13 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you! 15 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, 'The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.'
16 "Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 17 until I come and take you to a land like your own — a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. (NIV)
Let me summarize this for you: “Don’t trust God!” “Look at the circumstances around you and just give up!”
Our enemies (you know, the world, the flesh, and the devil) want us to believe that God does not love us. They point out to us all the things that are going wrong around us or within us and want us to believe that these things prove that God does not care about us.
Don’t believe the lies of the enemy! Just because things are not going the way you think they should go, does not mean that God does not care about you and the circumstances you face.
18 "Do not let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, 'The Lord will deliver us.' Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 20 Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?" (NIV)
The enemy will always try to get you to believe that there is no hope for you. Jesus says otherwise. God does love you and Jesus proved it by dying for you. If you have nothing else in life to cling to but this one truth, cling to the truth Jesus shared with us in that most famous of Bible verses:
For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (Tom Coll’s version)
God does love you and He has a plan for your life. I believe that everything God allows to happen to us has purpose and meaning. The primary purpose is to help us learn to trust God no matter what!
The enemy will always tell you that God cannot be trusted to be with you and help you no matter what your circumstances. God may not answer your prayers the way you want Him to, but He will answer in the way that is best for you. Always!!!
21 But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, "Do not answer him."
22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went to Hezekiah, with their clothes torn, and told him what the field commander had said.
37 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. 2 He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3 They told him, "This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the point of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives." (NIV)
When the people in Jerusalem heard the message from the king of Assyria, they humbled themselves, took the message to king Hezekiah. Hezekiah sent word to Isaiah the prophet to ask for prayer. Hezekiah humbled himself and asked for help. He went to his pastor, that is, the prophet Isaiah, and asked him to pray for him and his people.
Do you have some prayer warriors that you go to when you are tempted to believe the lies of the enemy? I do.
I have some very close friends who get calls, or texts, from me occasionally asking them to pray for me.
Who do you have who will listen to you and pray for you when you are tempted to listen to the enemy who is trying to tell you not to trust God?
Hezekiah sent word to Isaiah and asked for prayer.
5 When King Hezekiah's officials came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, 'This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard — those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Listen! I am going to put a spirit in him so that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.'" (NIV)
God’s message: Do not be afraid of what you have heard!
Do not listen to the lies of the enemy. The enemy tells you that what you have is not enough. The enemy tells us we are no good, worthless, and without value.
God says He loves us so much He will not quit working with us until we accept His love and His Lordship. Trust that what God has given you is what you need. Trust that if it is not enough He will provide what you need. Trust that what He wants for you will be better than what you want for yourself. TRUST GOD! No matter what your circumstances, trust God!
9 Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the Cushite king [of Egypt], was marching out to fight against him. When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word: 10 "Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, 'Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.' 11 Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? 12 Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my forefathers deliver them — the gods of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, or of Hena or Ivvah?"
Do you hear the words of the enemies of you and God? They say: “Don’t trust God!”
What did God say would happen to Sennacherib? Would Hezekiah and the others in Jerusalem need to do anything to get themselves out of this bad situation? No. God was going to do it all himself. And He did. The Egyptians moved in and the Assyrians retreated. Sennecherib went home, was murdered by two of his sons and another son became king.
This was a turning point in the Assyrian empire. From this point on they would begin to decline. Eventually the Babylonians would become the world empire and Jerusalem would have to deal with them.
Look at this verse about what God said about Assyria:
Isa 37:26 "Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone.” (NIV)
Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it! God used the Assyrians to accomplish His purpose. Many look upon God’s chastisement as punishment. God allows our sin to create problems for us. But His plan, even the things He allows in our life that we do not like, are for our eventual good!
He loves us and His main message is this: Trust me, Love me, Obey me! Because I love you and want you to draw near to me.
God has planned long ago for you to have the life you are living. He knows what is best. Trust God!
God’s message: Trust Me!!