“It is true, Lord , that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. – Isa. 37:18-19 NIV
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Today’s Devotional is a follow-up to the Devotional titled, “Verify That Information Before Reacting”, where the effort of King Sennacherib to covet some fortified cities of Judah using the tool of propaganda and attempts to ridicule Jehovah was the focus – 2Chr. 32:1-23. The account of this event in the biblical book of Chronicles, rightfully noted the decision of King Hezekiah to seek the support of Prophet Isaiah in inviting Jehovah into the situation. Jehovah did intervene instantly as King Sennacherib and his army were humiliated through the activity of the angel of God and he was eventually killed by his own blood children while on a visit to the temple of his god – 2Chr. 32:20-21. That account was however silent on the details of the activities of King Hezekiah and Prophet Isaiah in their effort to get the support of Jehovah, one that will be of immense advantage to today’s Christian.
What needs to be made clear is that despite the nearly perfect relationship between Jehovah and King Hezekiah (2Chr. 29:2), Jehovah did not get involved in the threat that confronted Hezekiah and Judah until Hezekiah decided to seek His support. The Christian today must know that until Jehovah is invited into a situation, He may not act as expected, not necessarily because He approves the activities going on in that situation but because He always waits to be invited into every situation- Jer. 33:3; Psa. 91:15.
Sennacherib had not just sent a message to King Hezekiah of Judah but had gone further to write him a stinker. Though he had, in his verbal message delivered by his officials, ridiculed Jehovah by comparing Him to gods made by hand (2Chr. 32:17-19), he had also in the account of this event in the biblical book of Isaiah, lied that it was Jehovah that instructed him to match against Judah – Isa. 36:4-10. Whereas, Sennacherib was the one that had mounted propaganda against King Hezekiah, his officials turned around to accuse Hezekiah of mis-informing the people that Jehovah will save them from his hands, advising them in the process to discount all such assertions and instead, submit to the rulership Sennacherib so that they can eat from their own vine and fig tree and drink from their cistern – Isa. 36:11-20.
Although the people chose to remain silent (Isa. 36:21-22), King Hezekiah decided to go into mourning as he recruited the support of Prophet Isaiah, to whom he had sent Eliakim, the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and some leading Priests, and informed him of the threats posed by Sennacherib – Isa. 37:1-4. The response of Prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah, that the Lord will act to defeat Sennacherib and his army must have gotten to Sennacherib who though seemed to be experiencing events along the line of the prophecy of Prophet Isaiah, wrote a letter, in defiance, to King Hezekiah, advising him not to allow himself to be deceived into believing that Jehovah can save Judah from him, as none of the gods of the other nations had been able to save their people from him or any of his predecessors – Isa. 37:5-13.
It is this letter that King Hezekiah received and in his reaction spread in the temple before Jehovah – Isa. 37:14. He commenced his prayer to Him by asserting His greatness and influence over heaven and earth, pleading in the process that He should listen to the words that Sennacherib spoke against His greatness – Isa. 37:15-17. Sennacherib, had by that letter played into the hands of Hezekiah, who immediately turned the battle to that between Jehovah and Sennacherib. The latter was always going to be the loser.
In challenging Jehovah to battle with Sennacherib, the points raised by Hezekiah is the focus of today’s Devotional. Sennacherib was not lying when he talked about the prowess of himself and his predecessors, but those were mere wood and stone carvings made with human hands and not the God that Hezekiah described in his opening submission to Jehovah. Jehovah will need to prove to him and all the kingdoms of the earth, that He alone is Lord by delivering his people from such a huge threat – Isa. 37:18-20. As the saying goes, the rest is history, as the angel of the Lord routed Sennacherib and the Assyrians, and their king was to later lose his life in the hands of some of his biological sons who cut him down in the temple of his god.
The genuine Christian has no business fighting spiritual battles as all such need do is to invite Jehovah into the battle, sit back patiently and watch Jehovah achieve victory. The challenger may indeed have a precedence of victory against all oppositions but had probably not encountered an opposition that relied on the Mighty One in Battle – Psa. 24:8. This is a god who rejoices in being victorious on behalf of those who are faithful to Him. All who challenge the true Christian are actually challenging Him but most Christians hold Him back from intervening on their behalf by acting on plans and strategies out side His Will. Waiting for His intervention should not be only on those occasions when the challenge is overwhelming for the Christian but in all challenges, as there is no challenge that the true Christian should undertake without Him. Learn to invite Him into that challenge and remain patient whilst he resolves issues in His own way as doing that will remain your only assurance that you will always be an overcomer. May God grant us all the wisdom and patience to allow Him take over our battles in Jesus name. Amen.