“Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. – Isa. 37:33 NIV
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Today’s Devotional is the second part of the Devotional with the same title where King Hezekiah was wise enough to quickly turn the challenge he had with Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, to that of Jehovah. Despite the good relationship he had with Jehovah, the latter was not going to get involved in that battle until Hezekiah triggered His anger against Sennacherib, by bringing to His attention the boastful comments made by him – Isa. 37:21.
Hezekiah knowing that he needed to operate at such times with current and appropriate directives from Jehovah, sought the required support through the intervention of Prophet Isaiah, who would be able to relate to him, the view of Jehovah about the challenge and what needed to be done to overcome it.
Hezekiah, in a mournful state had sent Eliakim, the Palace Administrator, Shebna the secretary and leading priests to Prophet Isaiah, to let him know the extent of the threat they faced from Sennacherib. In what he compared as an aborted dream, Hezekiah told Prophet Isaiah that all the dreams of prosperity and progress, of all those who remained after the pain that the ungodly reign of King Ahaz had brought on the people (2Chr. 28:1-27), and the new lease of life that they were enjoying since their return to the worship of the true God (2Chr. 29:-31-21), was suddenly coming to an end unless he is able to intercede on their behalf before Jehovah – Isa. 37:3-4. The message of Jehovah to Hezekiah through the Prophet Isaiah is the focus of today’s Devotional.
The response of Jehovah was premised on the fact that Hezekiah prayed to Him – Isa. 37:21. He will probably have remained silent if he had not done so. In that message, Jehovah highlighted the boasting, arrogance and disrespect of Assyria and its king (Isa. 37:22-25), making it known that all that was happening was earlier scheduled by Him to be so, and not because of any ability on their part – Isa. 37:26-27. He was therefore going to make them return the way they came, which implies that they will return empty because of their rage and insolence against Him. Wow! So when they thought they were threatening King Hezekiah and Judah, they were actually raging and being insolent against the God of the whole universe. As a proof that Jehovah will accomplish all he had said through Prophet Isaiah, Jehovah promised that
- The people though may not be able to plant for two years, but by His zeal, they will still have the opportunity to harvest, until the third year, as they will not only be firmly rooted in the land but will also be fruitful – Isa. 37:30.-32. They were going to be fed by His Grace and will not experience famine during the period.
- With regards to the arrogant and boastful Sennacherib and his army, he will not be able to enter the city, more so, shoot an arrow in it. His plan to build a siege or come into it with a shield will also not be implemented as he was going to return, in the same manner that he approached the city, as the Lord was determined to defend the city for His sake and that of David, His servant – Isa. 37:33-35. He had by that, fully taken over the battle.
Many true Christians will continue to lose battles for the simple reason that they go about the prosecution of the challenges that confront them, using a plan that has nothing to do with Jehovah. Hezekiah was no doubt a true and recognised worshipper and believer in everything linked with Jehovah like many Christians today and Jehovah Himself acknowledged him as such, like He does for many today, though they may not be aware – 1Kgs. 18:3-8. Despite this enviable credential, he did not lose sight of the fact that he needed to invite Jehovah into a situation, for Him to come into it, just as He expects the Christian today to have to invite Him before He intervenes in their challenges.
He also acknowledged his limitation, knowing that he needed to be in communication with Jehovah, a gift that he probably did not possess. It was not enough for him to simply pray at such times but it was equally important that he gets a feedback from Jehovah. That was a limitation and so he sought the help of one with such a gift. Knowing spiritual limits and who to approach for requisite and appropriate spiritual support in times of challenge is very core to being victorious in life, as it is not always the case that one is able to confront all life challenges alone.
Either for reasons of previous disappointments, personal or shared, most people have taken the decision to face life challenges alone and that may just be the reason for their not being victorious. You definitely need support of fellow Christians who have the requisite gift to overcome that particular challenge.
There is also the need for the Christian who has taken the above steps to believe and follow all instructions obtained at such times and above all, be patient. The grace period of two years when the Almighty God promised the people that they will harvest even when they could not plant, is a probable indicator of how long it took for the people to remain under siege laid by Sennacherib and his army. A similar siege laid by Shalmaneser, the predecessor of Sennacherib as king of Assyria, was for a period of three years before Samaria eventually fell – 2Kgs. 18:9-12. The true Christian who is waiting for the intervention of the Lord must trust Him to take care of all that will be needed during the time that the enemy will seem to be succeeding, with the firm belief that the Lord will eventually show up in victory.
Just retain your faith in Him as you make Him take over your Battle and trust Him to continue to ensure that you are not touched by the effect of Battle before granting victory. May God continue to be the leader of all our battles in Jesus name. Amen.