My perfectionism has gotten the better of me. I haven’t blogged because I kept expecting that I would take the time to find a quote from that book–like I mentioned in my last blog. Well, that hasn’t happened but I’ve decided to reject my perfectionism–which says I must do what I said before I go onto anything else. So, here I am with something else.
I’m still studying in Isaiah and it’s awesome as usual. I’m meditating on the practical significance of Isaiah 37:18-20. King Hezekiah prays: “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.” (NLT).
The background is that the emissary of Assyria has arrived in Jerusalem to say that the Israelites must surrender because they are going to be destroyed by the Assyrian army which has destroyed so many other places–and their gods didn’t protect them! “So the Lord God isn’t going to protect you. So give up now,” the emissary says.
But Hezekiah prays and says, “but the ‘gods’ of those other places weren’t gods at all.'”
I think there’s something here for us when Satan or some person whispers, “Just give up, you’ve never been successful before. Why do you think you’ll be successful now at conquering that sin…or…having love for that person who irritates you…or…whatever it is that seems overwhelming. ” And maybe it seems like God hasn’t come through for us. But whatever we had tried to depend upon and as a result were not victorious isn’t really God the Lord. It’s our old strategies that seem like the Lord’s help or empowering.
I knew the Lord’s gracious mercy again this week toward Audrey. (sorry to keep harping on this topic but it’s my life!) When getting irritated, I just had to throw myself on God’s mercy and stop trying to strive to figure everything out on my own. There’s a place for asking God for wisdom and why things bother us but sometimes it’s just casting ourselves at Jesus’ feet and saying, I can’t do it, help me!
That’s what Hezekiah said. “Lord, you’re the only true God and we will depend upon you even though we are being threatened and what the enemy says is true. The Assyrians have been successful in destroying many other places. But You’ve said we won’t be conquered and destroyed–so we won’t be!”
And if you read the story, that’s what happened. God intervened miraculously without the Israelites doing a single thing! Here’s it is:
Isaiah 37:33 “And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:
“‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem.
They will not even shoot an arrow at it.
They will not march outside its gates with their shields
nor build banks of earth against its walls.
34 The king will return to his own country
by the same road on which he came.
He will not enter this city,’
says the Lord.
35 ‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David,
I will defend this city and protect it.’”
36 That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians[g] woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. 37 Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.
38 One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria. (NLT)