August 07

Read Isaiah 32 -- 37

In Today's Reading:

Righteous King and His kingdom foretold; judgment upon Assyria and judgment upon nations; future kingdom blessings; threat of Sennacherib; Hezekiah's prayer; destruction of the Assyrians.

Verses for Today:

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah . . . Sennacherib King of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the King of Assyria. Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, the Lord will surely deliver us. . . . Hearken not to Hezekiah (36:1,13-16).

About twenty-two years passed after King Shalmanesar of Assyria and his son Sargon invaded and destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This ended more than 200 years of rejecting the Word of God by the Northern Kingdom. He then defeated 46 of the towns and villages of the smaller Southern Kingdom of Judah. In one campaign, he carried away about 200,000 inhabitants into captivity, but was not able to conquer Jerusalem. At that time, all of western Asia was under Assyria's control, including Babylonia, Media, Armenia, Syria, Phoenicia, Philistia, Edom, and most of the Promised Land. Up to that time, Assyria had not lost a battle.

Eventually, the King of Assyria sent Rabshakeh (the military official) from Lachish . . . [to] King Hezekiah [at] Jerusalem with a great army (Isaiah 36:2) and demanded unconditional surrender.

Upon hearing this demand, Hezekiah immediately went up [to] the House of the Lord. . . . And Hezekiah prayed . . . O Lord of hosts, God of Israel . . . [You are] the God . . . of all the kingdoms of the earth; [You have] made Heaven and earth. . . . O Lord . . . hear all the words of Sennacherib, which (he) [has] sent to reproach (insult and defy) the Living God. Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations. . . . Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that [You are] the Lord, even [You] only (37:14-20). In complete dependence upon God, Hezekiah based his prayer on his desire that the honor of God be upheld.

Isaiah sent word to Hezekiah, saying: Thus [says] the Lord God of Israel, [Because you have] prayed to Me. . . . I will defend this city to save it for [My] own sake, and for My servant David's sake (37:21,35). That night, the Angel of the Lord (37:36) smote 185,000 soldiers in the Assyrian camp. When Sennacherib arose the next morning, he discovered his entire army was dead. He returned to Nineveh and as he was worshiping . . . his god . . . his sons [murdered] him (37:37-38).

It is important that we honor the Lord in our prayers just as Hezekiah did. The Lord is still saying: Call unto Me, and I will answer [you], and [show you] great and mighty things (Jeremiah 33:3). We will receive the Lord's guidance when we pray with a desire to see His will accomplished. Jesus promised: If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My Love; even as I have kept My Father's Commandments, and abide in His Love (John 15:10).

Christ Revealed:

As the unmovable Rock (Isaiah 32:2). Christ is always available to provide "rest" -- comfort and security. The Lord is my Rock . . . my Fortress. . . . who is [the] Rock save our God? (Psalms 18:2; also Matthew 11:28-30). As the King Who will bring judgment upon the earth (Isaiah 33:17; 34:4-5). In that day of judgment, Christians will see King Jesus in His power and great glory, but the lost will face His fiery indignation (Matthew 24:30; 2 Peter 3:10).

Word Studies:

32:2 covert = shelter; tempest = storm; 32:5 liberal = noble; churl = cruel, crafty men; 32:7 instruments = schemes; 32:19 low in a low place = completely destroyed; 33:9 hewn down = destroyed.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Bob Etheridge (NC) and Rep. Amory Houghton (NY) · Pray for your Church · Country: Poland (39 million) in eastern Europe · Major language: Polish · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 1% Eastern Orthodox; .5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that faith is a vital tool in your prayer life to ensure your prayers are answered (Romans 12:3).

Optional Reading: James 2

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:1