Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Bigger They Are…

On what are you basing this confidence of yours?” (2 Kings 18:19, NIV).

This was the beginning of a message that Sennacherib, King of Assyria, sent to Hezekiah, King of Judah, as the Assyrian army lay siege to Jerusalem.

Israel had been decimated, her people taken into captivity. And now, the Assyrians were threatening to do the same to Judah.  Sennacherib ridiculed Hezekiah. He mocked the God of Judah, comparing Him to the gods of the pagan nations whom Assyria had swept away. It was an ugly situation—and a desperate one.

The question had been a valid one, though the answer Sennacherib got was not the one he expected.  Just where WAS Hezekiah’s confidence going to be placed? Where is ours placed when our world threatens to blow apart. or already has?

2 Kings 19 describes how Hezekiah took the message the King of Assyria had sent and laid it before the Lord. He sent his leadership team to Isaiah, God’s prophet “all wearing sackcloth,” a symbol of mourning.

Do not be afraid of what you have heard…” (19:6, NIV).

With Sennacherib’s threats ringing in their ears, they chose to listen to God’s voice instead. Hezekiah’s prayer of praise and expression of confidence in God, is the classic response to the other voices that crowd in to steal our peace and cut down our faith (2 Kings 19:14-19). It was a prayer he made even before Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the destruction of Sennacherib was placed in his hands.

Lord Byron’s famous poem, The Destruction of Sennacherib, was required reading when I went to school.

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpets unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

When we place our confidence in Almighty God we can know with certainly that there will be victory over the fiercest of our enemies and the most difficult of our challenges.

 

Lynda is a missionary, speaker, educator, writer, editor, and cat lover. She was born and raised in Timmins, the heart of gold mining country in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Lynda has served with Fellowship International for more than thirty years, first in Colombia, a brief stint on home staff in Toronto, Ontario and, more recently in Venezuela. She is currently on staff at First Baptist Church in Timmins, Ontario where her primary focus is spiritual formation. The author of Divine Design for Daily Living, a 365 day devotional journey through the entire Bible (published in Spanish and English),  Lynda blogs Lynda’s Grain of Sand, maintains her own website Northern Breezes , and has been seconded by Fellowship International to serve on the Communications team of The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada.

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