God and the Gentile Nations
In our last lesson we saw that King Hezekiah of Judah’s greatest threat was the destruction of Jerusalem.
We saw a general over view of these things. In this lesson we will see that everything that happened to evil King Sennacherib were executed and planned buy the Lord.
We may not always understand God’s plan but we can be sure it is only God’s plan that will win the most souls.
It should be clear to us that God’s hand has been in the history of this earth since creation!
God’s eyes are upon all men, those that love Him and those that do not!
God’s ears are open to their counsel and anything they say!
God is well aware of every thought that goes through the mind of every human being on this earth!
At the proper time and at the proper place, God will frustrate all the combinations of evil and bring to pass His purpose in righteousness!
We must clearly understand as Christians, we can never triumph over our spiritual enemies or have victories, without the almighty arm of God.
We already know that Jerusalem and King Hezekiah were under the threat of a ruthless king of Assyria.
Hezekiah has tried everything in his own power to buy peace, which never works!
Nothing can stop a foolish man seeking world domination except the Lord!
All of us should also understand that the children of God are never powerless to resist the evil in this world, as long as they have “faith” in the One True God, Jehovah!
And a special note: Isaiah was God’s scribe for the Book of Isaiah buy he also was God’s scribe for the Books of 1st and 2nd Kings and some of the same information appears in all these books.
When God says things once that should be enough but when God repeats what He says then we certainly need to pay attention!
*****Isa 37:14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
Isa 37:15 And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying,
The truth is, God knows our needs before we even ask but He will certainly delights when we get specific an unfold them with the confidence that He can solve any problem!
Nothing is to hard for God!
Jer 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
If God can but just speak things into existence, how can anything be to hard for Him to accomplish.
BUT, Prayers require our “Faith” to be answered!
We should understand the thoughts of King Sennacherib. He was seeking to dominate Egypt and the only obstacle left in his path was Jerusalem. If Jerusalem withstood him it would show his weakness and it would also leave an enemy to his rear as he attacked Egypt.
Military commanders do not like such things as this.
It seems the world we live in today still thinks that the way to control the Jews is to deny them the city Jerusalem. We still live in a foolish world that is determined to go against the Word of God and will certainly fail!
Sennacherib’s ambition not only threatened the Jews but also threatened the whole world.
We see this in Iran who desire to dominate all Muslim countries and then the world.
We see this in North Korea.
I believe this is Russia’s goal and also China’s but I also believe they respect equal or greater power, unlike Iran and certainly unlike North Korea, who has lived in denial so long that that really have no knowledge of this world.
We should clearly understand as Christians, that if we have something that is bothering us and constantly on our mind, then it is important enough to take to the Lord!
We will see the Hezekiah knew that God cared for him as an individual.
We will see that Hezekiah knew that God was his only help.
We will see that if we are identified with God then God will identify with us!
God’s treatment of His children will tell the world that the Lord is faithful, the Lord is loving, and our Lord is very strong!
We should see how one single prayer from one individual can affect the lives of so many people and also the things of this world that go against the will of God!
Jas_5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”.
One man’s prayer of “faith” can set a lot of things in motion that are in the will of God! Of course that includes the faithful prayers of dear ladies also. The keys being that prayer must be a prayer of “faith” and that prayer must be in the will of God!
So Hezekiah prayed.
*****Isa 37:16 O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
**We first see that Hezekiah declared God’s greatness. Hezekiah prayed to Jehovah God, the Holy God of Israel, the God who was enthroned between the Cherubim on the Ark of the Testimony in His Shekinah Glory. He alone is the Supreme Creator of this world!
Jesus Christ teaches us all how to pray!
Mat 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Mat 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Mat 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Mat 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
**Hezekiah had also gone to the house of the Lord to make this supplication to the Lord.
We can pray anywhere and at any time when we know the Lord but there is simply something special about praying in the House of God, the place where we also worship Him and Him alone!
**Hezekiah also took the confidence he had in the power of God with him.
If we do not believe the Lord is the answer to our problems and that nothing is out of reach of His right arm, then no prayer will be answered!
In most cases we make our own plan and then ask God to approve our plan and it simply does not work that way. We must pray for God’s plan and then abide by God’s plan! God gives us the knowledge and the examples of what He has already done in His Word and God does not ever change. We should be able to plan our prayers around these things!
**We next see Hezekiah explained in detail the problems he faced and his nation faced.
God does not want some wishy washy prayer at any time but when we have a sincere need, we need to to do our best to explain that need. God already knows, so He wants to see if we really understand what we are asking Him to do.
*****Isa 37:17 Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.
Isa 37:18 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries,
Isa 37:19 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
Notice Hezekiah first praises Jehovah, the great “I Am” of the Scriptures, the self-existing God!
Mat 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Mat 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Note: Hezekiah next ask to Lord to take into consideration the insults of Sennacherib had said against Him.
We are wrong when we are in a group setting with saved and lost people and someone insults our Lord and we do nothing!
Certainly we should not attack them with our fists but we should inform them that we serve a Holy God who will not stand for such things before we walk away from such things. If we are Christian then we must not be ashamed to be a Christian!
Rom_10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
I also know that there are circumstances in some foreign lands where this could result in death and the death of the family.
We must use all our means to protect our family and if that means quietly walking away, then God will understand if we are walking away tall and not hanging our heads in submission!
**True prayer must always make reference to the “Glory of our God” and requires all our “Faith”!
It was certainly true that the armies of Sennacherib had laid waste to many nations and had cast their false gods into the fire.
Aren’t you glad we do not worship some idol that we can sit upon a shelf, that needs dusting and someone can take away from you and destroy!
**Even Hezekiah had realized that idols are only the work of men’s own hands!
Psa 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
Psa 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
Psa 115:5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
Psa 115:6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
Psa 115:7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
Psa 115:8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
It was also true that many of those nations were much stronger than Judah and they had not been able to stand up to this ruthless king but they also did not know Jehovah God.
We immediately see that our “Faith” does not have to ignore our difficulties!
Our “Faith” must include the fact that nothing is to hard for the Lord to accomplish!
God is able to overcome any and every obstacle in our path if He so chooses!
We must also realize that when our prayer seems to go unanswered in such situations, it is not a lack of God’s power but that problem may fulfill some purpose that the Lord has and we will still remain safe in the arms of God no matter the situation!
1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
1Pe 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
**Before Isaiah closes his prayer he gets down to his greatest request.
*****Isa 37:20 Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.
Hezekiah had already admitted that his enemy was very powerful but then he adds that the power Sennacherib had over other nations was great and their gods had proved to be nothing but false gods. Sennacherib’s power over their gods proved nothing because they were not gods at all but only idols made of wood and stone and metal.
Hezekiah was calling on the Lord to make this truth apparent to these Assyrians, that they also worshipped false gods and only Judah worshipped the only true God.
**He then prayed “save us from his hand”.
Notice that King Hezekiah did not dictate how and he did not dictate the nature of this salvation!
We must never ask God to submit to our plan!
**AND, What we see is sometimes the most effective prayers are the shortest such as this example of the sinners prayer:
Luk_18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner”.
It can be as simple as “Lord save me”!
Mat_14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, “Lord, save me”.
**Hezekiah ends his prayer glorifying God: he said “that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only”.
If we are Christians as we say we are, then we must also long for all others to know our God, even our enemies!
We need to long for all this earth to come to know the saving knowledge of the truth!
Luk_11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
So how did God answer this prayer? And notice how quickly God answered.
*****Isa 37:21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria:
As most all of Judah had denied God’s prophets, God again sent His answer by the Prophet Isaiah.
Note: Isaiah could not have known these things of Hezekiah’s closet prayer if the Lord had not told him!
**Hezekiah had woke up to the fact that he could not save himself, nor could he save Judah by his own strength, it would take the strength of God!
What did God say?
*****Isa 37:22 This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
Isa 37:23 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.
Isa 37:24 By thy servants hast thou reproached the Lord, and hast said, By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel.
Jerusalem, the daughter of Zion, like a virgin maiden, who herself was weak and helpless would stand in defiance of these Assyrians.
Sennacherib would not violate the city of Jerusalem in any way!
The people of Jerusalem would laugh at the feeble attempt of this enemy as they fled from the long arm of God!
It is a fact that no enemy had defiled the city of Jerusalem from the time of King David and God was not going to allow it at this time.
The the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, it would be rebuilt with the money of King Cyrus and it would remain the capitol city of Israel until the Messiah’s First Coming and this could not be changed by some arrogant ruler in a foreign land!
AND, King Sennacherib would be severely punished for lifting up his voice against the Holy One of Israel, Jehovah!
We should know that the Lord will not tolerate insults and rejection for any length of time.
Psa 74:18 Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.
This should remind us of that day during the Great Tribulation when the antichrist claims that he is the Most High God.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
We see that King Sennacherib was in fact a “type” of the antichrist and will also suffer the humiliation of defeat.
What had Sennacherib desired in his heart?
1) That his overwhelming forces would cause Jerusalem to just surrender.
2) He would show that the land of Palestine, with it’s mountainous terrain deserts, was no great obstacle to overcome.
3) He had visioned of stripping the land of Palestine of all it’s resources.
4) He had envisioned a complete domination of the land of Israel.
His desires were that of a monarch but he would see a complete defeat of his mighty army in a way that could only be understood as by the “hand of God”.
And the Lord continues:
*****Isa 37:25 I have digged, and drunk water; and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of the besieged places.
Isa 37:26 Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps.
Isa 37:27 Therefore their inhabitants were of small 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 corn blasted before it be grown up.
Sennacherib had bragged about all the things that he had done and would do.
He said he could dig wells and drink the water of Palestine because no one could stop him.
He had said he had the power to dry up any river in any besieged place, (which means he would destroy all their defenses).
He was saying, no one and nothing on this earth and certainly not some invisible God, had the power to stop him and his mighty army and his false gods.
And now the Lord speaks of his demise.
God then said, you Sennacherib are a fool!
The Lord says:
1) Have you not looked back on history of the Jews from the ancient times and seen what the Lord has already done?
In other words God said do you not know the truth of recorded history, and the truth of creation and the history of Israel?
The leaders of today, refuse to look back on the history of our world, and the same mistakes are made over and over again and it is the people who suffer the most and not those leaders.
And today the world refuses to look back on the history of the Jews and see the mistakes that foreign powers have already made against these Jews.
The truth is:
Gen_12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
This is the promise that God made to Abraham and we know that this promise would continue to through the family of Isaac and not through Ishmael.
Gen 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
God says that there is no excuse for anyone not to realize who is in control of our world!
Rom_1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
**Sennacherib should have realized that all conquerors are just instruments in God’s hands!
**All that Sennacherib had done he had done as God’s instrument and by God’s permission.
And God will one day use these same Jews for such a purpose in this world:
Jer 51:20 Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;
Jer 51:21 And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;
Jer 51:22 With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid;
Jer 51:23 I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.
Jer 51:24 And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.
We are just as foolish as Sennacherib if we do not believe these things!
The world is much more foolish because they missed the great light that shined when the Messiah came the first time!
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Joh 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Joh 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
Joh 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
Joh 1:8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
Joh 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
God had given the Assyrians power but only by making making the other nations weak, they were as the grass of the field.
In this area of Judah the delicate grass of the spring will whither within a few weeks and becomes yellow and parched and this would be the same for these Assyrians.
We should all realize that there is nothing that the Lord does not know know about us, the saved and the lost!
*****Isa 37:28 But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.
Isa 37:29 Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
God knows where we all live and He placed us in that place for a purpose and in actuality, we should stay there unless God calls us to do something else.
God knows our coming out and our going in, which means God knows what we are doing at all times, the saved and the lost.
God knows those who love Him and those who hate Him as Sennacherib did. Sennacherib had a rage against God that he refused to quench.
These are things brought his downfall!
The Assyrians were in the habit of passing hooks or rings through the noses or even the lips of certain prisoners to lead them into the presence of the Assyrian king.
God promised Sennacherib that He would use His own methods to turn him back to the direction from which he had come, much like the bridle is used on a horse.
And again Isaiah turns to Hezekiah.
*****Isa 37:30 And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.
Isa 37:31 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:
Isa 37:32 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.
Isa 37:33 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it.
Isa 37:34 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD.
Isa 37:35 For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.
This sign would be a series of events that come together in a period of 2 years.
To me, the Lord has given us a similar sign. The complete Word of God is a sign of a series of events over 7000 years that will end with God’s people in the New Heaven and the New Jerusalem and everything will be new.
Rev_21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
We see that the regular operations of agriculture would be suspended for this period of 2 years, which means God would provide while the land of Israel recovered from the destruction caused by the invasion of Assyria.
This would give the people of Judah time to repair or rebuild their homes and repair their wells!
The remnant of Israel, which was those left of Judah would take root and blossom and again there would be a growth in population.
Israel has always grown in population through adversity!
Again Judah would be given the opportunity to return to the Lord and they would for a short period of time but they would rebel again as we all know.
But one day in the future all these things would change at the return of the Messiah, when again another remnant would return to the Lord and remain with Him forever!
Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
As for the armies of Assyria they would never enter the city of Jerusalem. In fact this army would never get close enough to shoot an arrow into the city, nor lay siege to Jerusalem.
Those that plan all these things now should take note, by the way this army came they would return to their homeland, at least those that remained because this to would only be a small remnant, because God wanted these people to explain what happened, which was the God of Israel is just to strong to fight against! They could not explain the unexplainable!
What had the Lord said: For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.
God will defend His name when he desires but God will fulfill the promises He made to David, at the proper time.
In most cases God would use some human or a group of humans to do the task He has assigned but this would not be the case on this day, God sent an angel and He even had a purpose for sending this angel.
King Sennacherib needed to know who he was dealing with and so must this world we live in!
*****Isa 37:36 Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
In perfect silence and at night time while this army slept and even with guards posted, 185,000 soldiers met their death at the hand of the Lord.
We see that the “judgment of God” is harsh and without pity! This is an example of Armageddon.
Those that remained were in total shock as they awoke that next morning!
They then broke camp and returned to Assyria and they did this in a hurry leaving behind all the things they had stolen from the people of Judah.
Who is strong enough to to fight against the Lord when one angel can do such a thing, the Lord has an innumerable number of angels but also remember that when the Lord speaks things just happen, without the need of angels.
*****Isa 37:37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
Isa 37:38 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
This army remained in Nineveh and they were never a threat to Judah again!
Even King Sennacherib was later assassinated by two of his own sons and was succeeded by a third son Esarhaddon.
The truth is deliverance from sin is the greatest promise of God, if we just acknowledge the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The deliverance from the obstacles that we face on this earth can take place after a fervent prayer of faith!
In fact without a prayer of faith we can have no contact with God.
Heb_11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
With faith, our prayers are the most powerful tool we have in this world!
Jas_5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
When we call on the Lord for deliverance, God will just deliver us in what may even seem as a miracle or He will give us the power to overcome that obstacle!
King Hezekiah had faith but not always. Like ourselves, his faith centered on if he could see a way to over come obstacles himself.
True faith means that when we can see no way out of our problems but God always knows a way and we can depend on Him!
No matter what confronts us, God promises to deliver those who love Him!
2Ti 4:18 And the Lord “shall” deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lord will never forsake His people!
When the Apostle Paul wrote this wonderful Scripture, he was looking at his death from prison but he knew he could be delivered and he was. Because the Lord will preserve all His children forever in His Heavenly Kingdom.
So give the glory to God!
Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.