“But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’ Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ ” 2 Kings 18:32-35 NKJV.
See also Isaiah 36, especially vs. 18-20, for a parallel account.
This Scripture is part of the narrative describing the defeat of Samaria and her carrying away captive into Assyria. Having done that, now the armies of Assyria are threatening Judah. We’ve read part of the exchange between the Rabshakeh, who was probably the commander-in-chief of Assyria’s armies, and some of the representatives of Judah.
After telling the people of Judah to surrender, this army general warns them, or so he thinks, against being persuaded by Hezekiah to resist, and to trust in their God to deliver them. Then he gives a list of places he’s conquered and then asks, “Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hands, that your God should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” I’ve slightly paraphrased the text and have added emphasis, because I think the general was making the point that the God of Israel was just another god, no different from the gods of all these places he’s defeated. Or so he thought. There’s some more to the story, but the upshot of all this is that he found out. Scripture records that as he was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword, 2 Kings 19:37, emphasis added.
His own god couldn’t save him from being assassinated by his own sons, any more than it could save his army from destruction 20 years earlier. 2 Kings 19:35 tells us that 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.
That must have been quite a shock for Sennacherib, king of Assyria, to go to bed one evening, secure in the midst of his overwhelming army and probably planning his next move against Judah, to wake up, or be awakened, the next morning to find most of his army dead in their beds.
Amazing, isn’t it, to be given irrefutable proof of the power – and reality! – of the God of Israel, and yet he continued to worship his own god.
Just shows how stubborn we can be! Yes, “we”!
Scripture says we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23. Now it’s true that none of us has witnessed a defeat – or victory – quite like this. That doesn’t matter. We have the record of this one, plus a few thousand years since then. We have the NT as well, which tells us of a much more overwhelming victory, that of the Lord Jesus over sin, hell, death and the devil.
That doesn’t stop us from fretting and stewing and, in general, acting like the evolutionist who doesn’t believe there is a God at all. But Scripture tells us that there is no difference between any of us. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23. Left to ourselves, there is no depth of evil to which we may not descend. We have been blessed in this nation and have not, until the last few decades, experienced anything of the death and destruction that has visited Europe and Africa and South America. But now we see terrible things on the news – rioting and destruction, calls for disbanding the police, rioters burning Bibles, those who dare to dispute the version of things presented by our left-wing media are branded as right-wing extremists, though they’re not the ones tearing things up.
When I was a young man, such things would have been unthinkable. But I’m firmly convinced that it’s happening now because of our answer to the Rabshakeh’s question: “Who is the LORD?”
In spite of those who claim differently, this nation was founded by men and women who wanted to worship God as they believed the Bible to teach, and not according to the dictates of some ecclesiastical authority. They were not perfect, by any means, but the nation they founded has been a place of refuge and freedom for nearly 250 years. We don’t have to build walls to keep people from leaving. I’m afraid, though, that all that’s coming to an end. This next election is likely to be our last, at least that has any real meaning. I read just the other day of a country where there was an “election,” but it seems the dictator who leads the country suppressed the votes for the opposition.
Sixty years ago or so, we began to answer the question of “Who is the LORD?” by saying, “We don’t care; He’s not our God, anymore.” We became increasingly secular to the point that where, now, even many churches are only concerned with material things. The Gospel has pretty much been replaced by concern over social issues. These do have their place, but our basic problem is spiritual, not political. Scripture is clear that we reap what we sow, either in the natural world or in the spiritual, as individuals or as nations. I’m afraid that it’s time for the “reaping” in this country, and we’re not going to like the harvest.