II Kings 18:13-16; Isaiah 30-31 — Where our strength and salvation come from

It’s hard to match up the events of history to the prophesies, but I’m guessing these two passages roughly go together.

The king of Assyria (Sennacharib) was on the move again, and came against Judah, mainly because Hezekiah had rebelled and stopped paying tribute to him.  Sennacharib attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them, and as a result, Hezekiah panicked.  He apologized for his actions, and then paid a huge amount of tribute to make Sennacharib back off, including stripping gold from the temple and giving silver from the temple treasuries as well as from his own treasuries.

Why did he have to go so far?

God had warned Hezekiah in Isaiah 30-31 not to make alliances with Egypt. That it would do no good.

Yet despite the warnings, Hezekiah and his people ignored Isaiah.  Not only that, they told him to stop confronting them with God’s word.  That they only wanted to hear things that would make them feel good. (Such as, “Egypt will wipe out Assyria.”)  (30:10-11)

And so God said that judgment would come as a result of their rebellion.

But God also told them,

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it…Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!  (3o:15, 18)

In other words, “Stop striving.  Stop trying to save yourself.  Stop relying on your own wisdom and strength to save you.  Repent.  Turn from your sins.  Rest in me.  Trust me.  And I will save you.”

God told them that he himself would cause Assyria to fall, that they didn’t need to trust in Egypt.  That he was God and Egypt was not.  (30:31-32, 31:3-5)

But as I said, Hezekiah didn’t listen. He made his alliance with Egypt, paying them a lot of money in order to do so. But as God warned them, Egypt fell at the hands of Assyria and was unable to help Judah.

So when Hezekiah was force to pay tribute to Assyria, he didn’t have enough because of the money he had paid Egypt. As a result, he was forced to strip the temple of its gold and silver in order to pay the tribute.

And even after he paid the tribute, Assyria came to attack. Only then did Hezekiah finally repent. And when he did, God as he promised delivered Judah.

What can we take from this?  All of us go through hard times in our lives.  And it’s so easy to rely on ourselves.  But God longs to help us.  To work in our lives that all may go well with us.  And as he told Hezekiah and the Israelites, so he tells us:

O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.  How gracious he will be when you cry for help!  As soon as he hears, he will answer you.   Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.   Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (30:19-21)

God whispers his words of wisdom and comfort to us.  The only question is, will we listen?  And will we rely on him, rather than ourselves?


About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
This entry was posted in Books of History, II Kings, Isaiah, Major Prophets, Old Testament and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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