The empire of Assyria had spread throughout the
By 701 B.C., King Sennacherib of Assyria had destroyed 46 fortified cities in
The Assyrians sent the Rabshakeh, the third in command of the army, to
Can you relate to the people of
The world has a way to handle problems, and God has a way. Isaiah chapter 36 tells the story of how the Rabshakeh taunted them, and in this chapter we see the ways the world tries to handle problems. Then in chapter 37, we will see how Hezekiah responded.
I. The world’s way to solve our problems (Isaiah 36)
A. Smart thinking (36:10, 18-20)
The Assyrian field commander, known as the Rabshakeh, assaulted the minds of the Hebrews with psychological warfare. He threw at them every argument he could think of to discourage them. Shouting in the Hebrew language so the people on the wall could hear, he taunted them. He referred to Hezekiah by his first name, without the title “king,” but he referred to King Sennacherib of
He asked them who were they trusting to save them? Then he listed how city after city had fallen to their power, and one by one how nobody could save them. If they leaned on
Sometimes what he said was a contradiction. He told them that
Are we any different today, as we try to solve our problems with our own intelligence? We think, “I can figure this problem out. I’ll find a solution.” But what do you do when there is no solution to your problem?
B. Clever compromise (36:7)
The Assyrian field commander implied another worldly way to solve problems in verse 7, when he taunted them for relying on the Lord when King Hezekiah had torn down the “high places” altars to the Lord.
What is he talking about? The “high places” were open air shrines, often located on a hill, used to worship the Lord. So why did King Hezekiah tear them down? The Assyrian field commander thought Hezekiah must have insulted the Lord by tearing them down. But what he didn’t realize was that these high places were often located in spots that had originally been used to worship Canaanite gods. Because of this, it was too easy for Israelites to be influenced by local pagan cults and traditions at the high places. Once the worship of the Lord was established at the temple in
Are we any different when we decide to follow God partially, but not wholeheartedly?
C. Advanced technology (36:8)
In verse 8, the Rabshakeh taunts them with a proposal. He offers to give them 2,000 horses to fight back against
In 701 B.C., whoever had the horses won the battle. The Assyrians were famous for their cavalry. On horseback, the cavalry could attack the enemy rapidly, and speedy away, and foot soldiers were no match for them.
Horses and chariots were the most advanced weapons of war.
Today, we have far more advanced forms of technology. We have rapid communication with our cell phones and computers, rapid-fire weapons with our air force and guided ballistic missiles.
It is easy for us to trust in our technology to solve our problems. But what do we do when the Internet is down, the call is dropped and the weapon fails to fire?
II. God’s way to solve our problems
King Hezekiah chose God’s way to solve his problem, not the world’s way.
- Humble submission (37:1-3)
Hezekiah realized he had no power to save himself. He knew how desperate his situation was. He put on sackcloth, a sign of mourning. He sent messengers to the prophet Isaiah and said, “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.” He knew it was impossible to save himself. This humility was part of the secret to Hezekiah’s success.
God uses broken vessels. God is looking for men and women who will humble themselves and submit totally to God. As long as we fight and bully our way through life the world’s way, we will fail.
Alcoholics Anonymous and every 12-step group start with the admission that they realized they had a problem and needed help.
King David said in Psalm 51, “a broken and humbled heart, the Lord will not despise.”
- Believing prayer (3:14-22)
Hezekiah got a short reprieve, as the field commander received a report that that Tirhakah, the king of
What did Hezekiah do? He took the letter to the temple of the Lord, and spread it out before the Lord. He prayed. Not just any prayer, but believing prayer. Prayer of faith.
When George Müeller was working to build up his orphanages in Bristol; when he had the beginnings of his buildings, but very few orphans; and again when afterwards he needed yet larger buildings for the work he felt had to be done, he was one day on his knees in prayer to God, and he opened his Bible to Psalm 81:10: "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it." The truth of this promise seized and mastered his soul, and he declared from that time he had expected great things from God, had asked great things, and had not been disappointed. The Father honored the faith which so honored him.
As Paul Harvey says, here's "the rest of the story": Isaiah 37:36-37 records in a few short verses that during the night, an angel of the Lord destroyed the Assyrian army and King Sennacherib withdrew from Jerusalem.
God did what nobody thought possible for His glory, and He wants to do amazing things in your life, as well.
The next time you feel like all hope is gone, just remember....
Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
Peter denied Christ (3 times!)
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
Mary Magdalene was promiscuous
the Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once...
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer....
Lazarus was dead!
Yet God used every one of those people and more, despite their failures, and God can still use you, if you’ll submit to Him in faith.