- A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD (2)
- BELIEVER'S AUTHORITY (35)
- BIBLICAL PROSPERITY-a Balanced Approach (36)
- BOOK OF ACTS OF THE APOSTLE (45)
- BOOK OF HEBREWS (41)
- BOOK OF REVELATION (35)
- FAITH (23)
- FIRST AND SECOND CORINTHIANS (45)
- FOLLOWING GOD'S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE (42)
- HOLY SPIRIT (22)
- IN-DEPTH STUDY OF EPHESIANS (19)
- IN-DEPTH STUDY OF THE BOOK OF GALATIANS (21)
- IN DEPTH STUDY OF THE BOOK OF ROMANS (38)
- PROSPERITY (18)
- PROVERBS CHALLENGE (5)
- PROVERBS CHALLENGE 2024 (4)
- STUDY OF ISAIAH (39)
- THE GREAT SHEPHERD (20)
Wednesday, July 12 2023
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Verses 1-3: Jerusalem Threatened
King Sennacherib king of Assyria has come up against all the fortified cities of Judah and taken them. He’s just taken the city of Lachish, and Jerusalem now is left. So, he sends the “field commander” of his great army with an ultimatum for King Hezekiah.
If you recall in chapter 7, when Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, God told Ahaz to ask for a sign, but he refused to “put the Lord to the test.” (Isaiah 7:10-25) Why? Because in reality, he had chosen worldly wisdom over faith. Furthermore, Isaiah prophesied in Chapter 8: 7-8a:
“7 Therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against [you] the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, 8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck”
Verses 4-6: The Rabshakeh Speaks Against Judah’s Trust in Alliance With Egypt
a.What confidence is this in which you trust? One of the great battles for Hezekiah during this time was the temptation to make a defensive alliance with Egypt, which seemed to be the only nation strong enough to protect Judah against the mighty Assyrians. As a prophet, Isaiah did everything he could to discourage Hezekiah and the leaders of Judah from putting their trust in Egypt (Isaiah 19:11-17, 20:1-6, 30:1-7). The Lord wanted Judah to trust Him instead of Egypt.
So what Rabshakeh spoke in these verses, was the truth! God wanted Judah to have no confidence in Egypt at all. But Rabshakeh isn’t doing it to bring Judah to a firm trust in the LORD God, who can and will deliver them from the Assyrians. He does it to completely demoralize Judah and drive them to despair.
b. You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt: Strangely, Rabshakeh could see the truth of Egypt’s weakness better than many of the leaders of Judah could. He refers to their alliance with Egypt as a broken reed that is not just a worthless one but that leaning on them for support and will cost Judah.
Verse 7: The Rabshakeh Speaks Against Judah’s Trust in God.
The devil seeks to deceive us: by twisting the truth, speaking lies that have a ring of truth to them and sound like something God has actually said! Even though Hezekiah did tear down the high places (which he was supposed to do), and though Assyria was a tool in God’s hand, this did not mean that God was against them!
Verses 8-9: The Rabshakeh Speaks Against The Army of Judah.
Although king Sennacherib had a vastly superior army and could have just attacked Jerusalem without this little speech, he would prefer it if Judah would simply give up, out of fear, discouragement, or despair. The Assyrians were masters of intimidation and cities usually just surrender without a fight. The devil uses the exact same approach. Many of us picture him as always “itching for a fight” with us. Really, he doesn’t want to do battle with us. First of all, there is the strong chance you will win. Second of all, win or lose, the battle can draw you closer to God. Thirdly, what the LORD does in your life through the battle can be a great blessing for other people. So he would much rather not fight but rather, talk you into giving up or have you distracted from fulfilling your purpose in life.
Verse 10: The Rabshakeh Claims God is on His Side.
In this verse, he goes for the jugular; in other words, “Admit it, Hezekiah. You know that your God is on my side.” And like all good deception, it would have been easy for Hezekiah and his men to believe this one. After all, hadn’t the Assyrians been wildly successful? Surely, God must be on their side. Didn’t they have the most powerful army? Surely, God must be on their side. Then he moves in with a finishing blow: “The LORD said to me, “Go up against this land, and destroy it”. “Hezekiah, God told me to destroy you. I’m just doing His will, and there is nothing you can do to stop it, so you may as well surrender.”
Verses 11-20: The Rabshakeh Sows the Seed of Doubt in the Hearts of the People
It was a difficult situation for the leaders in Hezekiah’s government. It was bad enough that they had to hear these words themselves, but because he was speaking in Hebrew, everyone could hear, become discouraged and possibly ask the king to surrender so they appealed for him to speak in Aramaic
But the Rabshakeh would not have it. The more fear, discouragement, and despair he can spread, the better. He pointed forward to what conditions would be like in Jerusalem after an extended siege (that people will eat and drink their own waste). He wanted this to disgust everyone who heard it, and he wanted to magnify the sense of fear, discouragement, and despair.
And then, in verse 16, Sennacherib’s devilish ultimatum was given by the Rabshakeh: “Thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me.” “Don’t trust the Lord. Don’t listen to Hezekiah. Trust me. If you don’t, we’ll besiege your city and cause you unimaginable pain and suffering. You will perish unless you follow me. But in reality, the Lord was not against His covenant people. He had not deceived them. Rather, He had brought them to the end of their resources so that Judah might depend upon her God in wholehearted trust. The Rabshakeh’s speech was going on well until he overstepped in verse 20. “Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ ”
The gods of other nations have not been able to protect them against us. Your God is just like one of them and can’t protect you either. It is one thing to speak against Judah, its people and leaders. It was another thing altogether to mock the Lord God of Israel this way and count Him as “just another god.” And just like the officer in 2 Kings 7:2 who ran his mouth challenging Elisha and consequently, the Almighty God by saying: “That couldn’t happen even if the LORD opened the windows of heaven!”
Verses 21-22: CONCLUSION
Hezekiah had instructed the leaders not to argue with the Rabshakeh but to give him the silent treatment. King Hezekiah was wise enough to make this command, and his officials and the people were wise enough to obey him. It is often useless – if not dangerous – to try and match wits with demonic logic. It is much better to keep silent and trust God, instead of trying to win an argument. We can never win the battle with the enemy in the place of reason but the place of faith.
Parts of this study was culled from