God destroys Assyria
Verse 1 – And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.
After Hezekiah’s officials brought him news of disaster, he put his mourning clothes on and went to God. Why is it people will go everywhere else when disaster strikes for advice, except to the One who should be first?
Verse 2 – Then he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered in sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz.
Verse 3 – And they said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah: ‘This day is a day of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth.
Verse 4 – ‘It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.'”
In Isaiah’s time, people had to go to a priest or prophet whom God had appointed, in order to ask of God and receive an answer. So Hezekiah sent his priests for Isaiah to pray for them. Hezekiah did what Isaiah had been asking the people to do. He turned to God and watched Him come to Judah’s aid. When we turn to God, it means we believe He is able to help deliver us. Isaiah was their intercessor.
Verse 5 – So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
Verse 6 – And Isaiah said to them, “Thus shall you say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.
Verse 7 – “Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”‘”
Verse 8 – So the Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah (a town about 8 miles northeast of Lachish, captured it on their way to Jerusalem.), for he had heard that he had departed from Lachish.
Verse 9 – And the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, “He has come out to make war with you.” So when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,
Verse 10 – “Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah King of Judah, saying: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the King of Assyria.”
The rumor of Tirhakah’s advance on his rear flank caused Sennacherib to retreat his advance on Jerusalem, but before he left he sent a message in the form of a letter to warn Hezekiah his departure was only temporary.
Here’s what we should know: When we pray before we even finish, God sets things in motion. That spirit of deception had already done its work on the king of Assyria to cause him to retreat. God hears every prayer and will work all things together for your good, we wait.
Verse 11 – ‘Look! You have heard what the king of Assyria have done to all the lands by utterly destroying them; and will you be delivered?
Verse 12 – ‘Have the gods of the nations delivered those whom my fathers have destroyed, Gozan and Haran and Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar?
Verse 13 – ‘Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?
Most of the cities mentioned here were in what we call today Turkey (Haran, a city where Abraham and his family stayed a while before going on to the Promised Land) Sennacherib told Hezekiah again that the gods of all these other nations didn’t deliver them so why would they think their God would deliver the Israelites now?
Verse 14 – And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.
Verse 15 – Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying:
Verse 16 – “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim (on the mercy-seat of the ark) You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.
Verse 17 – “Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, who has sent to reproach the living God.
Verse 18 – “Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations of their lands,
Verse 19 – and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands-wood and stone. Therefore they have destroyed them.
Verse 20 – “Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are Lord, You alone.”
If Judah was defeated, then the surrounding nations, would believe that Yahweh was just like the false gods and couldn’t help deliver them.
Verse 21 – Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib King of Assyria,
Verse 22 – ‘This is the word which the Lord has spoken concerning him: “The virgin the daughter of Zion, has despised you, laughed you to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head behind your back!
Our God can answer our prayers through anyone He chooses. Even today, He can send your answer through another; a preacher a friend, or even a total stranger. He speaks through His Word, so if someone ever comes to you and says something that contradicts God’s Word, don’t you believe it. Because what is said must and always line up with the Word of God!
Verse 23 – “Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel.
Verse 24 – By your servants you have reproached the Lord, an said, ‘By the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, to the limits of Lebanon; I will cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypress trees; I will enter its farthest height, to its fruitful forest.
Verse 25 – I have dug and drunk water, and with the soles of my feet I have dried up all the brooks of defense.’
Verse 26 – “Did you not hear long ago how I made it, from ancient times that I formed it? Now I have brought it to pass, that you should be for crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins.
Verse 27 – Therefore their inhabitants had little power; they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field and as the green herb as the grass on the housetops and as grain blighted before it is grown.
God revealed to Sennacherib the true nature of how he had done nothing without divine design. His victories had come because God had allowed them.
A spirit of pride will come on those who think their success and victories are all because of their own effort. I know in my life that I couldn’t have accomplished one thing except by the grace of God. Give credit where credit is due.
Verse 28 – “But I know your dwelling place , your going out and your coming in, and your rage against Me.
Verse 29 – Because your rage against Me and your tumult have come up to My ears, therefore I will put My hook in your nose and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn back by the way which you come.”‘
It was the practice of the Assyrians to put hooks in their captive’s noses and lips as they carried them off. Now they would have the same humiliation done to them.
Verse 30 – “This shall be a sign to you: You shall eat this year such as grows of itself, and the second year what springs from the same; also in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
God directed this verse to Hezekiah, king of Judah, to show him it would get better. Because of the siege by Assyria, the Judeans were shut up behind the walls of Jerusalem and had not been able to plant their crops. Thus they would eat what grew on its own. After the Assyrians lifted the siege, they would be able to plant, but not until the third year would agriculture get back to normal.
Verse 31 – And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
Verse 32 – For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion.
The future will see the remnant become productive again. If you’ve noticed: Every time Israel was attacked by another nation , God would save a remnant to keep His people from completely being wiped out. Why? Because the gospel had to come through the Jew! It is written…
Verse 33 – Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, ‘He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor build a siege mound against it.
Verse 34 – By the way that he came, by the same shall he return; and he shall not come into this city, says the Lord.
Verse 35 – ‘For I will defend this city, to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.”
God would defend Jerusalem for the sake of His honor and for David’s sake in remembrance of his promise to David. The Assyrians had mocked God and insulted him. Now, He would do for Jerusalem what they could not do for themselves.
When we’re in situations that we can’t see a solution, God has already worked it out. However, the biggest thing that can stop your miracle is doubt that He will do what He says. God is willing and able to do what looks impossible to us. He’s a big God that lovers His children!
Verse 36 – Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses -all dead.
Verse 37 – So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.
Verse 38 – Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the house of Niaroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer, his son’s struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.
The death of Sennacherib was prophesied by Isaiah in 10:12, 33, 34 and 37:7. His death is also recorded in 2 Kings 19. Moral of that is: God always does what He says He will do -trust Him!