God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24 - Isaiah 35-36: Assyria, on Assignment from God, Missed the Message to Stop

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 35-36

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God tells Judah to believe in Him. The Rabshekah tells Judah no god has protected their people. Which will Hezekiah listen to?

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God's creation praises Him for setting things right. Soon an exclusive highway will usher God's People home in safety.
During Hezekiah's reign, King Sennachreib of Assyria sent a large force into Judah to capture it. A "Rabshekah" met three of Hezekiah's men. He arrogantly asked who they trusted since Hezekiah removed their god's shrines. Sennachreib would help them fight out of pity. Besides, God told Assyria to go.
The Rabshekah cried out, "Hezekiah is lying to you about God. Make peace with Assyria. Think about it, no god has defeated Assyria. Why is yours different?"
Hezekiah's men returned without answering.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

After the carnage of yesterday's reading, God's Creation praises Him for purifying it.

God removes evil from His Creation because He does not want it to spoil His Chosen People or the land. After the earth reabsorbs their bodies it praises God for its purity. Everyone who survives praises God for setting things back to the way they should be. God's creation praises God for its purity.

Sennacherib came to Israel and Judah by authority of God; but, they do not have faith in God.

A few days ago we read how Assyria was God's rod for punishment. Israel did not repent and was taken into captivity. Judah, on the other hand, repented under the leadership of Hezekiah. Assyria was not willing to give up their conquest, though. Because Assyria believes their strength came from within instead of from God, they stand before Judah as arrogant imperialist, not righteous fighters for justice. God's weapons for justice do not always follow His Ways.

The Rabshekah wants Judah to surrender, not repent.

At no point does the Rabshekah suggest the correct action is to repent. He has his facts—God sent mighty Assyria into lowly Judah for a good, punishing blow. Judah could take their resettlement quietly or fight a futile war. The Rabshekah must have found it odd that Hezekiah would tell his people to trust in the same god who sent Sennachreib to punish them. It shows something very important—those outside God's Promise do not understand God's ways.
What does this mean for today? We should not expect those who are not God's Chosen People to understand why we do things like worship God regularly, openly confess our faults to each other, and give money to help each other in times of need. They may think these are crutches which only help because of the placebo effect. We should not expect them to understand exactly how God works to set things right. They need to see that it works instead of being told to believe it.

Take courage, God will set things right in the end.

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