Friday, April 10, 2015

God Destroys Sennacherib

Isaiah 37:28-38

“But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.  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.” (Isaiah 37:28-29)

A person who knows where you live and your habits knows where you are most vulnerable to attack.    God knows where the Assyrians live and their routines and plans to attack him.  He knows what motivates them and how they respond to various situations.  When he is ready he can use that knowledge to put a hook in their nose and a bridle in their mouth so that they are forced to go where he wants them.  He will force them to go back where they came from.

“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.  And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: 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.” (Isaiah 37:30-32)

When a prophet made a prophecy, saying it came from God, he was to give a short term sign to prove that it really was from god.  If the sign didn’t happen the prophecy did not come from God and they were not to worry about it.  The proof that the prophecy about Assyria came from God was that despite Rabshakeh’s threats, for the next three years Hezekiah and Judah would not be bothered by the Assyrians, but would be free to work their fields without interference.   They would be able to begin rebuilding what the Assyrians had destroyed. 

“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.  By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD.  For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.” (Isaiah 37:33-35)

God would see that the Assyrians never attacked Jerusalem or even set themselves in array against it.  God would defend the city, forcing them to return to their own land before they ever started the battle. 

”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.  So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.” (Isaiah 37:36-37) 

That night, God sent an angel of death into the Assyrian camp and a hundred and eighty five thousand Assyrian soldiers died in their sleep.   The next morning the survivors were horrified to find so many of their fellows were dead.  Not knowing what had killed them and fearing it might infect the rest, Sennacherib and his generals withdrew to Nineveh to regroup without ever setting their forces in array or firing a single arrow, just as Isaiah had prophesied. 

“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.” (Isaiah 37:38)

Sennacherib had mocked God, saying he could not stop him.  While he was worshipping the Assyrian god, Nisroch, two of his own sons murdered him.  To escape retribution by his other children and the military, they fled north into Armenia.  Assyria’s power began to decline and they would eventually be taken over by the Chaldean forces and Nineveh destroyed.  

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