June 13 – Isaiah 36

Well here we are at the historical portion of the book of Isaiah. We are walking away from future events and proclamations and praises and taking a deep look at a frightening time in Judah’s history. The king of Assyria had already captures some of the fortified towns on the outskirts of Judah and had sent his assistant ahead to bully the people of Jerusalem and their king, Hezekiah, into a surrender. As he had already succeeded in many other places, these were no idle threats. His intimidation tactics were impressive.

First of all, he told the people what Isaiah had already told them back in Chapter 30. Egypt was unreliable and would not help them. After that? Not much of what he said was true, was it? For starters, God was not insulted by Hezekiah when he took down shrines and altars and insisted people come worship in Jerusalem. That’s what God asked His people to do. And no, indeed, God did not tell the king of Assyria to attack and destroy His people. God warned His people it was coming, but He also called them to repentance.

I love that the people, despite the scariness of it all, kept their mouths shut and were silent as they listened. They trusted King Hezekiah and were united in their silence when the threats were levied against them. I totally understand, however, the reaction of King Hezekiah’s officials when they reported to the king: “ …They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king …” That’s how our chapter closes. Yikes.

Have you ever been in a similarly dire situation? The circumstances look absolutely unsurmountable and the enemy is taunting you? I’ve been there emotionally several times, when I’ve been frightened about the future. I like that the people were silent and obeyed the king. Not a bad policy for us as well when we are frightened. Be silent and wait on the King!

My verse: Isaiah 36:21 “But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, ‘Do not answer him.”

My response: Sometimes the best response to lies and half-truths is silence. Arguing with the Assyrians would have been an exercise in futility. Father, show me when it’s best to just keep quiet!

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June 12 – Isaiah 35