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God’s Word for You

Isaiah 37:5-13

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, April 25, 2008

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.’”

The men had asked Isaiah to pray for them, but Isaiah knew that God had already promised deliverance. Isaiah trusted God’s word (“Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19). God was going to let the Assyrian king be drawn away by misinformation—but that would not be all. Miraculous though it would be, the mere withdrawal of Assyria from Judah was not all God was going to do at this time.

8 When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish, he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah.

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?” (NIV)

In the book of Acts, we find a foreigner, an Ethiopian, reading from Isaiah and asking questions (Acts 8:27-34). That was seven hundred years after Isaiah wrote his words down. But here we have a foreigner, Sennacherib himself, quoting Isaiah (Isaiah 38:6, which was spoken before these events took place).

He said these words as a sort of parting shot as he moved away from the Jewish stronghold of Lachish and attacked Libnah, about ten miles to the north. But the parting shot tells us something about Hezekiah. Earlier, when it was just the Assyrians vs. the Jews, Hezekiah was warned not to trust Egypt for help. Now, Egypt was (seemingly) coming out to battle, and yet Hezekiah was not trusting Egypt at all; he was only trusting in the Lord. His faith matched the prayer of the psalm: “Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety” (Psalm 141:10).

The list of conquered places was no longer sounding very impressive. It was more and more like yesterday’s news. With God, faith is all that is required, and faith itself is a gift he gives. “Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land” (Psalm 85:9).

O Lord, come quickly to help me.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.